Why bother networking?
No one succeeds without the help of others. Networking is a low-cost way to grow your influence and help your business. Your network can bring in more referral business and help generate ideas when you’re dealing with a tough business issue.
- How to find networking opportunities
- Take advantage of your new connections
- How to make an elevator pitch
Use trade and local business organizations
Local, state, or national trade and business organizations are a sure way to connect with other business owners. These organizations often host networking events for their members to meet one another. Some even organize conferences and tradeshows, which are educational and networking opportunities. These organizations can also offer classes and resources to grow your business. A great place to start is by contacting your local chamber of commerce for information on groups in your area. These organizations also offer advertising opportunities to create some brand awareness in your community or industry.
Find volunteer opportunities
Offering your services for a charitable cause for free or at a reduced cost is a great way to enhance your profile in your business community. These volunteer events are a great way to connect with other organizations in the area willing to donate time and money. This kind of work can also be used to create engaging social media content.
Join social media groups
Social media platforms like Facebook* and LinkedIn* have group features that connect businesses on specific topics or industries. It is likely that businesses in your community have started social media groups. These groups will sometimes host in-person or virtual mixers and networking events. Make sure you attend as many as you can. Hearth has its own Facebook group for Hearth members where contractors share resources, stories, and memes. Visit Contractor Corner on Facebook.
Create an elevator pitch
One of the things you absolutely need to have committed to memory as a business owner is your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a summary of what your business does in under 30 seconds. These are great in situations when you find yourself speaking to multiple people in a short amount of time or need to make an impression quickly. Here’s the parts of an elevator speech you need to include:
- The problem your company addresses
- How your company addresses that problem
- Why people should choose your company to solve that problem
- What value your company adds to the customer experience
- A call to action (phone number, website, email, business card)
Get business cards
After making a great first impression, you don’t want to run the risk of someone forgetting who you are or what you do. Business cards are a great way to leave behind information about yourself. On your business card, make sure to include your company’s logo prominently on the card, your name, title, best phone number, email, and website. If you have social media pages, this is also a great place to include that information.
Regularly update on social media
As your social network grows through networking and meeting new people on the job, you need to make sure you are engaging with them on social media. Facebook* and LinkedIn* are favorites of business owners. Share your completed jobs or any business insight you have recently gained. Most importantly, like, comment, and share posts from other business leaders in your area. This will increase your visibility and keep you top of mind for any referral business.
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When you find yourself at a networking event, being prepared to make the case for your company is crucial to your success. Some can get nervous talking about themselves and their businesses. Remember, take your time and don’t rush through the experience. You are the expert on your business and industry.