Whether you are just starting out in business or your company is already established on the business landscape, it is near impossible to reach success without connections with other professionals and firms. Although making the right connections can be incredibly difficult, especially if you would rather hide in your office than conduct small talk, here are some of the top ways that you can build a strong network from scratch:
Go Back to School
Although you might believe that school is all about academic success, this is not the case. Instead, many colleges and universities attract the best talent across the country – and even the world. By attending a college or university that is renowned within your industry, you will be able to get the opportunity to communicate with other future business leaders. Not only this, but many degrees, such as Aston University Business and Management, aim to engage you with an international network of contacts from all over the world. This is as well as their ability to leave you with both a degree and strong industry links that can allow you to propel your business venture into the professional world.
Create a Name for Yourself on Social Media
You do not have to connect in person with other businesses in order to build your network, however. Instead, one of the best ways to do this is to utilize the digital mediums that are now readily available to you. By creating a name for yourself on social media, you will be able to attract the attention of other business owners and professionals who you can then mutually interact and share knowledge with. There are also many business groups and pages on platforms such as Facebook that will give you a ready-made forum on which to connect with other people in the same industry as you. Platforms such as LinkedIn may also be a great solution for those that want to use social media networking, as their service is based purely around businesspeople, rather than the general public.
Attend Nationwide Business Events
There is no escaping that, at some point in your career, it is likely you will need to attend nationwide business events, such as conferences and workshops. You can find many of these opportunities by joining a business networking group in your local area. As well as teaching you many tips and tricks for getting ahead in business, attending nationwide business events will give you the opportunity to mingle with top professionals who you would not be able to meet on a daily basis. If you want to take this one step further, you could also consider hosting a talk at one of these events. This will help you to promote your brand and message, and allow you to initiate contact with others. If you would rather do this online, there are many digital networking forums and events that can get you started.
Join in With Your Local Business Community
Your efforts to make connections in the world of business do not have to be on a nationwide level. Instead, it is just as important to join in with your local business community. You can do this by hosting your own community event and inviting many of the small companies that are operating in your area, or by attending and supporting their events. You may also consider going to local cultural events, and sponsoring some of the annual events nearby, which can help you to get your name out there. Many communities also host monthly meetings and groups for local business owners where they can connect, share advice, and get to know each other.
Join a Professional Organization
Professional organizations for entrepreneurs can help to give you support and advice in a variety of ways, and not least in terms of networking. Professional organizations, with a paid membership, give you access to forums, membership boards, conferences and events that you can use in order to meet other people who have joined the organization, and who might be at different stages of their career than you.
Put Yourself Out There
You do not have to take any formal pathway in order to make connections. Instead, all you have to do is put yourself out there. For instance, why not keep track of the latest industry news, and send emails or notes of congratulations to businesses that you are interested in talking with? You should also make sure that you follow up any individuals that you meet at events with a quick email memento, consider writing for industry publications, and simply making contact with anyone that you can, asking whether they would be interested in forging a connection.