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Small business networking tips

Networking can become a powerful tool for businesses looking to increase their contact base.

Making strong connections within the local (and indeed national) business community can, when done correctly, significantly increase your rate of client referrals. Not just this, but networking will also provide a rich source of reputable companies when you are seeking suppliers.

Of course, networking can bring out the nerves in even the most confident amongst us. Particularly when attending your first networking event, at which you’re required to find that delicate balance between letting someone know about your business without ‘selling’ to them, many struggle to get true value out of these events due to nerves.

Moneypenny is somewhat of a regular when it comes to attending events, so we have plenty of experience in appropriate networking etiquette. Now, we want to share our top tips on how small businesses can network effectively to gain the best results:

Understand its purpose

From experience we have found that some people attend networking events under the misconception that it is for the sole purpose of selling your product or services to the immediate people within the room. However, approaching a networking event with the goal of getting to know a wide variety of companies, letting them know about your own business and learning more about theirs, will ultimately mean a more mutually beneficial business relationship, and will often result in referrals from either side.

Business cards

Whilst it may seem like an obvious tip, we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve seen networking attendees lose valuable connections because they didn’t have business cards to hand. Due to the fast-paced nature of networking, making it as easy as possible for someone to connect with you is essential, therefore before each networking event you attend, make sure you have a substantial stack of business cards to take with you.

Prepare your elevator pitch

One of the best ways to ensure you get the most important information about your business, who you work with and businesses you are currently looking for across to fellow networking attendees is to prepare and refine your ‘elevator pitch’. Lasting no more than a minute and a half, your pitch should clearly define your business without sounding like you are actively selling to the person you’re talking to.

Reach out

Let networking become the beginning of a valuable connection with another business. Following each networking event we would highly recommend that you take the valuable business cards you’ve gathered throughout the day and reach out to that person via email or LinkedIn, thanking them for their time and, if you believe that a business relationship could add real value, schedule a meeting.

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