Working as a freelancer I know how easy it is to get caught up in your own little world, basing relationships on digital conversations and chatting with people purely online. We feel that we are keeping our finger on the pulse by reading through a plethora of emails and blog posts based on our area of interest, we shoot off a comment here and a thumbs up there, showing that we are paying attention, even if only for few short moments while scanning over coffee. But those relationships are not enough.
Just as we need to commit time to working in our business, we need to commit time to working on our business – and improving our social networking skills is a major part in this. It takes a lot of time and hutzpah to grow a business, so it’s good to have a network of friends and associates who can offer support and are there to draw energy from when we need to.
Networking is a great way to share ideas and test out your concepts. Joining groups where you feel comfortable asking for feedback will help you expand your perspective and show you things from a perspective you may not have considered.
Chatting to other people in a friendly networking environment not only gives you the opportunity to promote your business to them, but often leads to unexpected discussions that may open new ideas and opportunities as well. Being ready to seize an opportunity is important, but so is not forcing yourself onto other people – as they say, listening is just as important as talking, possibly even more so.
Raising your profile
This is one of the main reasons we need to get out from behind our desk and be seen. Being visible is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social network events people will begin to recognise you (more so than just remember your logo or your website) and form lasting impressions. It’s a great opportunity to show that you are knowledgeable, helpful and supportive of others by being willing to share your expertise in a social situation, by offering tips and suggestions whenever you can.
Increase Your Confidence
As a small business owner, you wear many hats – and marketing your business is one of the heaviest ones. The growth of your business relies on you talking to people and making connections. By regularly attending networking events and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know your confidence increases and this in turn helps you promote your business and make connections with others.
Your Opportunity to Shine
The ‘Growing Your Small Business” workshop, being held in Ipswich in October is a great place to test out your networking skills. This event is being run in support of the Ipswich Small Business Owners (QLD) Facebook Group – which has developed a supportive online network of over 140 members. To find out more, or book your ticket to this event, go to our Workshop page.