When it comes to knowing how to make connections in business, the options can seem overwhelming. Should you focus your time and energy on building a following on social networks, or participate in networking groups?
Ideally, you should aim to strike a balance by integrating both of these options. Knowing how to make connections really makes a difference to the likely success of a business.
In this post I share my insight into how to make connections through networking that will help your business to grow. This topic is another example of a thrifty marketing solution because it is about how to behave and involves minimal cost to implement.
I am illustrating this topic with an iris. It is an early Spring bulb. It grows that’s growing near my front door. It is a relevant reminder for this topic for several reasons.
7 tips on how to make connections in business – inspired by an iris
1. Where to begin to make connections in business?
Planting: Firstly, You must choose your position with care. Always select social media platforms and networking groups according to their suitability for attracting the clients you seek. You must be selective and assess the cost of participation – both time and money – alongside its potential pay-back.
2. It helps to be early
If possible, you should Arrive early to create a good impression. The iris’ early arrival in Spring maximises its impact on the garden. Your early arrival at events online or offline will be appreciated by the event hosts. If you’re joining a new group or platform you will become one of its co-creators because of your early adoption.
3. Remember to spread happiness
Just as an iris brings cheer to the garden after the dark winter months, you will make your best connections in business if you consider your purpose as sharing the joy of your solution to solve the problems of others. Don’t think about networking as an opportunity for taking orders for your product.
Connectivity works best when you can find like-minded individuals with whom you can share mutual support. This entertaining podcast from Dan Knowlton describes why there’s little point turning up at networking groups solely to sell a product.
Irises are perennials – they return every year. You should aim to keep showing up, too. This will build your business reputation as a provider who is trustworthy and dependable.
5. Maximise your reach
You can spread your message far, by making connections in business. Irises are rhizomes. They grow underground plant stems from which new shoots can grow and appear in unexpected places. Connections made while networking are likely to refer enquiries towards you so that you can discover leads from a wide pool of customers.
6. Be prepared to wait
Just like the rhizonomous iris grows stems and new shoots underground that might not become visible for a year. The opportunities that you create for yourself while networking might take a long time to come to fruition. Making connections in business is not a quick fix for any business, it is a long-term investment in developing business relationships and your reputation.
7. Continuity of action
After you have attended a group, do not think that you have completed your task to make connections. Long term value from making connections will only develop when you follow up after the meeting. Irises will continue to form new buds provided that you dead-head those that have bloomed. Keep working on a new connection by helping them.
Typically, you can follow him/her on their social feeds, attend their events, exchange personal emails on a shared topic of interest, sign-post any relevant enquirers towards them. Helpful behaviour will pay dividends.
Most groups offer the opportunity to stay in touch via a Facebook group. It is wise to make time to support the host by visiting and sharing in those online groups, too. That’s the key to integrating social media presence with networking.
Connections in business will help your business to grow. You can find out more about how it works by reading another of my blogposts here.