Networking is one of the most useful tools in growing your business.
In the small business world, networking is definitely necessary. Not only does networking lead to more knowledge in your field, but research shows that it also leads to more opportunities and higher job satisfaction!
Building a professional network for your business is great for exchanging information with others in your field, staying on top of current trends, learning new skills, and cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with other superstars. Investing in your relationships, both personal and professional, can lead to wonderful growth for you and for others.
Necessary Networking Skills
Do you look at networking as a chore, or as something you don’t have time for on top of your already crazy schedule? We have four skills that we think you can put into practice anywhere- the coffee shop, school pick up, local networking groups, happy hour, etc.
- Show up consistently. Whether you’re committing to a networking group or sponsoring a local group, be consistent. Show your face regularly and you’re sure to meet people!
- Learn from others. Chat with those around you… the barista, the friend of a colleague, the other parents at soccer. You’re guaranteed to find common ground, and it’s often outside our circles that lead us to the greatest opportunities! Look at networking as a learning opportunity, not just about resources and job advancements, but about other perspectives, roles, and cultures.
- Put yourself out there. It can feel intimidating to approach someone, especially at a more formal networking event. Trust us when we say that YOU possess valuable knowledge, qualities, and sparkle that others WANT to learn from. Don’t sell yourself short.
- Follow up. This can mean emailing a new contact to say “it was nice to meet you”, or offering a cup of coffee in exchange for more of their time in the future! Another great way to follow up is to do a little research about their company, their role, or anything else that sparks your interest and that you feel like you could learn from.
“The secret to great opportunities? The person you haven’t met yet.” Tanya Menon gives a great Ted Talk about networking.
It can be tough to find a networking opportunity in your city that you feel excited about. Luckily, there are tons of different kinds of events and occasions to put your networking skills to good use! Below are some ideas to get started:
-Share on social media (How easy is this one? You could go do it right now!)
-Participate in Facebook Groups geared toward your field (and go to events that they have!)
-Write a blog
-Guest blog for someone else
-Volunteer! Even if this isn’t in a related area of interest to your business, it is an excellent venue for both personal and professional growth.
-Sponsor an event or a sports team
-Join a Networking Group (see our list below for networking groups in Denver, CO)
-Lastly, if you can’t find an event that meets your expectations, create one!
Here are a few networking groups in Denver, CO that we like:
Above all, networking is the best investment you can make in your small business. Not only will it grow you as a business owner, but the more you step outside of your comfort zone, the more connections you will cultivate, and the more you can pay it forward to other small business owners!