I’ve been asked the question many times, why network? What’s in it for me? Networking for me is such a vital part in growing my business. Networking is a great way to build your brand and allow people to know you personally and not the online version. As a Virtual Assistant you may think the only way I find my clients is online through social media and online avenues, that is not the case.
Yes the majority of my work is performed online however I run my business like any other business would and that is by networking and word of mouth. Word of mouth is such a powerful tool and the best form of marketing that your business could have.
There are a few different networking groups around to suit your lifestyle for instance BNI which is actually quite large worldwide. I attended a couple of events as a guest however it wasn’t for me as you have to provide a certain level of commitment which can be hard when you are a working mother. However for alot of business owners this group can result in regular referrals.
Meetup is another great tool that can be used to find networking groups near you. You can jump on their app and join in on some free business networking.
Get in contact with your local chamber of commerce chances are they have an association that run regular networking events allowing you to connect with other local businesses. For me this has been my go to, between sundowners and coffee catch ups there is always an opportunity to not only get out of the house but to also network. You have to realise that not every one is on social media and it is up to your to be the voice of your business.
My top tips for networking
- Schedule some time out in your calendar in advance and attend atleast 2 networking events per month.
- Break it up between a morning and evening networking event. Both events will hold a different demographic giving you more opportunities to connect with your target audience.
- Don’t go in to sell! Networking is about educating and connecting not selling.
- Reach out to those you had conversations with, send them a quick email or an invitation on LinkedIn. They may not need your services now but they may in the future or they may know someone that does.
Above all make it a habit to include networking in the day to day running of your business you’d be surprised at much it will actually help.