Networking is defined as the act of making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups and institutions to develop mutually beneficial relationships.
Networking is an important skill that business owners and everybody should embrace because businesses thrive on relationships.
Below are some quick tips on how you can use networking to enhance business growth
Define and embrace the right network
Not all networks are valuable. Develop relationship with the people you will need in the future in order for you to get to where you want to go. For the Entrepreneurs that are into selling, connect with potential buyers, for those looking for partners, connect with potential partners, for those seeking for funds, connect with funders.
It is expedient you connect and build relationship with people who will help you achieve your long-term goals. Obtain and secure their contacts and relate with them.
Relate with your network
People do not remember average people; they tend to remember those who do memorable things. First impressions matter.
Be who you say you are, walk the talk and be consistent with your brand. Be the first to help out (even if it is little you can). Find out the needs of your networks and try to proffer solutions to them. Adding more value to your network helps to retain their memory of you. In relating with your network, it is better to be less complex. Always follow up with everyone you meet.
Retain your network
Keep on relating with your networks regularly, whether it is by calls, message or by email to avoid withering of the relationship. Keep the connection going. Develop strong relationship ties that count. Although this is time and labour intensive, it is to help you achieve your long-term goals
Leverage your network
Networking only counts when you use it. It is not there to be in your contact books alone or as one of your connections on LinkedIn.
Stay in touch with your network to know how to help them, and understand how it can help you. Whenever you need help, ask. With constant communication, there is not better time to asl for something than NOW. People always like to help and offer solutions but it is only those who they are close to that they can relate with well. Someone always knows someone, who can give you anything – whether a direction or business recommendation in a strange land, or an introduction to a decision-maker for the deal of the century. If you do not ask, you do not get.
Take it a level higher
It is important you use you networks to create better benefit and to achieve greater goals and plans for your business. Be creative and opportunistic (positively) as an Entrepreneur. As one of the most valuable things you can do, it is an absolute must. Make a wise investment of thought, time and resources into putting this into action over time, and reap the profits – with high interest.
Network in the same direction of your long-term goals – and your well-chosen network will help you to achieve them.
Having a long-term strategic plan for growing, developing and leveraging your network can yield massive results.
Esohe Valentina Osakue is a Content Writer, Graphics designer, Speaker and published author (KFLA Adventures of Leadership). She is certified in various fields including Self leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Business Strategy by various internationally recognised organisations like KfLA, YALI network and MentorMe4Success