Becoming an entrepreneur comes with many challenges. One of these, networking, is extremely important, but entrepreneurs overlook its importance or are too intimidated to begin. Networking is vital to the success of your business. By making connections, you’ll be able to create a strong foundation on which to grow your company. Taking the first step can be scary, but the following advice will help you build a group of individuals who can provide you with industry information, advice, or even referrals.

Do Your Research

Before attending a networking event, make sure you have a solid understanding of what the event will be like. Familiarize yourself with details such as the dress code. Make a list of attendees you want to speak with, and determine whether or not it’s possible to reach out to them before the event.

Create an “Elevator Pitch”

Being able to sum up your business and role in a short and eloquent manner is important in all aspects of entrepreneurship. This short summary, also known as an “elevator pitch,” will help you create connections. Keep in mind that this isn’t just another sales pitch. Instead, your goal is to communicate as effectively as possible to those that you’re interested in adding to your network.

Don’t Be Shy

Speaking to strangers is a necessity when it comes to growing your professional network. Because of this, you can’t afford to be shy! Remember that everyone is there to talk to new people. Starting conversations isn’t difficult. Introducing yourself and asking questions are great places to begin. Remember that with every introduction, you’re getting one step closer to establishing a network that will be very helpful in your future endeavours.

Listen to Others

Remember that even though you want to share as much about you and your business as possible, it’s equally important to listen. When you’re nervous, it can be easy to ramble on and accidentally take over the conversation. By listening, making eye contact, and using someone’s name in conversation, you’re stressing that you care about the other person and what they have to say.

Follow Up

Hopefully some of the people you’ve spoken with will have provided you with contact information. This is great! The last important step is to follow up with them after the event. Ideally you want to reach out to them less than 48 hours after meeting. To ensure that they remember you, reference something that you talked about when you met.

Expanding your professional network is a vital part of your success as an entrepreneur. This process doesn’t have to be intimidating. By being prepared, engaging others in conversation, and following up with them, you’ll be able to build a strong network.

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