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Once the initial euphoria of being a business owner fades, you’ll realize it’s a lonely journey. Only a strong professional network can offer you the advice and support you need to overcome the challenges of running a company.
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So, your life-long dream of launching a business has come to fruition. You’re now a proud entrepreneur with a thriving business and a team that believes in your vision. You’re excited about what’s going to come your way next on this roller-coaster ride.
But once the initial euphoria of being a business owner fizzles out, you’ll realize that it’s a lonely journey. Even if your friends and family members try their best, they can’t offer you the advice and support you need to overcome the challenges of running a company.
That’s why it is important for entrepreneurs to network with other business leaders and build strong professional relationships. Whether you want to hire a new product developer or are looking for new ways to grow your business, these connections will come in handy.
It is, however, important to remember that professional networking isn’t all about attending trade shows and seminars. While these events help you connect with senior leaders from the industry, they aren’t the only way to build your network.
There’s a vast spectrum of other networking techniques that you can use to build lasting professional relationships. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few effective professional networking tips to help you get started. Let’s take a look.
Unlike regular networking meetups, a mastermind group is an engaged community of business leaders. You can use a platform such as LXCouncil to find the right mastermind groups based on your goals and preferences. Alternatively, you could consider starting your own mastermind group to connect with skilled professionals and business leaders.
Each member is an active participant in the group, helping others overcome the challenges of running a successful business. Think of them as your trusted peer advisory group that will help you resolve critical business problems.
Getting involved in a mastermind group helps you set the right goals and create a strategy for accomplishing them. Also, other members hold you accountable for not achieving certain goals in a given timeframe.
The best part is that you get to connect with like-minded business owners and CEOs from different backgrounds. They often look at your organizational challenges from a different perspective and identify creative solutions. Networking in this way gives you opportunities to collaborate with and learn from professionals who are all in the same boat.
2. Build on Existing Relationships in Your Professional Network
Business owners often make the mistake of constantly chasing new connections. Who doesn’t want to build a vast professional network comprising senior leaders from various industries? But having a large network of connections would be of no use unless you nurture those relationships.
Otherwise, reaching out to your contacts during a crisis will come across as a selfish move.
That’s why it is important to work on strengthening existing professional connections and building long-term relationships. Of course, reaching out to every contact in your network may not be feasible.
Instead, at the start of every year, identify a handful of contacts you’d like to connect with in person. It also helps to set aside a day every or two every month to meet these contacts. Try meeting them outside the confines of an office for a cup of coffee or a light lunch.
Discuss their organizational challenges and offer useful solutions. This is the heart of professional networking, after all. Let them know that you’re available for help whenever they face a crisis. This approach can go a long way to help you create a close-knit network that’ll always be ready to help you.
3. Up Your Social Media Presence and Enhance Your Professional Network
In 2021, you don’t need someone to enlighten you about the importance of social media in professional networking. Unlike other networking practices, social media platforms let you connect with entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds situated all over the world.
Professional networking on social media has gained further traction due to the pandemic. Start by joining Facebook groups for entrepreneurs that are relevant to your industry. Also, follow industry leaders on Twitter and connect with users who engage with their content.
It’s just as important to create a strong presence on LinkedIn. Apart from building connections, consider publishing insightful articles to position yourself as a thought leader.
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Learning a new skill is an excellent way of connecting with professionals from outside your domain. It can prevent your network from turning into an echo chamber of business owners with similar challenges and goals.
Networking is an indispensable part of your entrepreneurial journey. Focus on improving the quality of your professional relationships instead of looking to increase the number of connections. Leverage mastermind groups to learn and grow with other business leaders. Don’t forget to use social media to expand your network and find unexpected connections.