Networking is essential if you want your business to grow. I sometimes hear people saying 'I don't find my clients at networking meetings’ and I think that's a shame, because networking is always fruitful. The thing I like about networking is getting to know new people and meeting up with old acquaintances - and sharing experiences. Maybe you won't immediately find a new client, but you might meet people who can help you to gain more clients indirectly. Besides this, when you are networking you strike up friendships with other entrepreneurs so that you can help each other in all sorts of ways. For this reason, besides being fruitful, networking can also be fun.
Preparation is half the battle. So prepare yourself properly. Make sure you know who will be attending and what questions you want to ask. It's a good idea to have 3 or 4 questions ready. And be sure to dress in such a way that you act as calling card for your business. So both you and your clothing should represent your business; if you have a chic salon, then don't wear jeans. Let your look be the look you want for your business.
Networking meetings always have givers and takers. Don't go along with the idea that you are going to get something, but go there to give. That way you will achieve a different, better result. Because you always meet people who can help you in some way. Or maybe you have just the person they need to meet in your network. Helping people always pays back in the long run.
You can present yourself to those around the table briefly and effectively with for example an elevator pitch or a power pitch. If people join the group around the table while you are in conversation, make sure you include them in the discussion. And if you prefer not to go alone, take someone with you. In that case you should talk about the other person's business; how you came to know about it and what your experience is. That is why it's also helpful if you give each other a treatment first, and give each other feedback.
If the discussion is interesting, then take action. Give them your business card or connect on Linkedin. Because the real networking begins after the meeting. Hopefully you will have made a number of contacts, and now you can start building on relations. It is a good idea to send a short message straight away that evening to the people you met, saying that it was nice to meet them, and that you would like to meet up with them again sometime. Don't expect immediate results. You do it to give your business a broad, stable base. You gain a network of people who can act as sparring partners, who you can exchange ideas with, and share experiences with. You also get advice from other entrepreneurs. That way you have access to all sorts of support. And that way you grow as a business.
_This blog was written by our guest blogger [Tom Sebastian] (https://growsupport.tomsebastian.com/).
For many years, Tom Sebastian was a highly sought-after make-up artist and hair stylist both at home and abroad. A few years ago, he decided to change the course of his career and do what made him really happy: advising beauty consultants. He, and his dog Juul, are always welcome guests at Salonized.
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