Starting a business is exciting but incredibly daunting. What’s your go-to-market plan? How do you acquire new customers? How will you establish yourself within your community to help you hit your financial goals?
Networking is an essential aspect of any type of business, and it’s crucial for success. While your networking skills develop over time, you don’t have much time to spare when you start a business. You’re immediately thrown in the deep end and have to establish yourself within your community as quickly as possible. One way to do this is through business networking.
Business networking refers to networking with other companies and brands. While business networking is essential for companies of all types and sizes, it’s particularly significant for local businesses to connect with other brands, business owners, and professionals.
There are several ways to network with other companies. For local businesses, a great way to get started is to meet with other nearby business owners with similar values and see if there’s potential for a mutually beneficial relationship. For business networking in a non-local or online setting, you can meet other business owners through social media, networking events, trade associations, and even existing contacts. (If you’re networking through virtual means, it’s essential to know how to network online effectively. Alternatively, if you attend networking events or trade shows, here are some great tips on how to network at conferences.)
Business networking is important because it opens up your brand to potentially unseen opportunities, and with new opportunities lie new customers. Many businesses rely on networking not only to help broaden their reach but also to be successful.
The catastrophic effect that Covid-19 had on the fitness industry demonstrates how vital networking is to the survival and success of local businesses. Between shutdowns and lockdowns, many gyms and fitness studios struggled to survive. For Ariana Johar, owner of F45 Training Corte Madera, business networking was crucial to help her business thrive in times of uncertainty.
“We opened in March 2021, and business networking has served us well,” said Johar. “We’ve created many genuine relationships that serve our business and members well.”
Business networking not only benefits you as a business owner but can also have a positive impact on your community. By networking and cross-promoting businesses, Johar expanded F45’s reach by leveraging existing networks, and it was a win-win situation for everyone involved. “We were able to give back to other local businesses and provided benefits to our members in the way of prizes and giveaways that we would not have had access to on our own,” said Johar.
There are several benefits of business networking. When you network with other individuals and businesses within your space or community, you open yourself and your brand up to new opportunities. A few benefits of networking include:
In general, business networking is an art that takes time and practice. At its core, business networking requires success in relationship building and management. It’s also crucial to network with a strategy and a goal. To build a successful business networking strategy, Johar recommends starting by answering the following four questions:
By answering these questions honestly about your business, you’ll be able to narrow down key players in your community that can help your business grow and thrive.
Exchanging business cards is standard practice while networking. More than ever, business cards are relevant because they’re no longer only paper-based—you can make a business card in a variety of ways: electronically, NFC cards, by using different materials like wood or metal, and more.
Digital business cards are quickly gaining popularity and are essential for any business. (Haven’t heard of them before? Here’s everything you need to know about digital business cards.)
Digital cards have greater usability than traditional paper business cards because of their versatility. Digital business cards can be shared with any individual or business, even if you’re not physically present. Our recommendation is HiHello, the top-rated digital business card app on the App Store and Google Play. HiHello also offers digital business card subscriptions for individuals and businesses who want premium features, like higher levels of customization and the ability to sync with customer relationship management tools.
When networking your business, it’s vital to include all pertinent information on your card. With HiHello, you can have a link to your Yelp page, your address and contact information, and marketing collateral in the forms of PDFs, embedded videos, and badges (to name a few). After you’ve created your card, you can share your card with anyone, even if they don’t have the app. You can send a digital business card using QR code, email, text, social media, WhatsApp, and more.
Your digital business card will also enable you to keep your brand identity consistent across all channels and platforms. With HiHello, you can take your digital business card and turn it into a professional email signature and a virtual background, ensuring your brand is at the forefront of any customer interaction. HiHello also lets you print out your card’s QR code, so you can place it on any marketing materials, on your store’s windows, or wherever else it will benefit your business. Your HiHello link also serves as the perfect link in bio tool, just add your business card to Instagram.
If your company has five or more employees, HiHello Business may be a good option. With HiHello Business, you can set up your entire team with digital business cards within minutes. Your team can use and share their digital cards while networking, which will help your business grow.
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