Networking for Small Businesses — Tips for Success

You’ve established some connections and somewhere on the road to becoming biz besties with a few of your peers. But you’d like to expand your professional circle and capitalize on opportunities that come with having a vibrant network. Legit.

If you’re ready to take your small business to the next level by filling out your virtual Rolodex (remember those?), let’s explore some secrets successful entrepreneurs swear by.

Tips for More Impactful Small Business Networking

In today’s fast-paced business world, who you know can make all the difference. That’s why I’m here to share some practical thoughts and suggestions for networking that could help you:

  • Build meaningful connections
  • Leverage online and offline opportunities
  • Achieve sustained success
  • And so much more!

🐘 Prepare Some Memorabilia

Think of them like business souvenirs for others can look at and fondly recall your meeting….

  • Upgrade your business cards. Consider adding QR codes to your cards for easy digital contact exchange. I like to leave empty space on the back so I can write something personal, like the name of the event we met at. Using atypical shapes or materials can be a good way to distinguish yourself, too.
  • Stand out with swag. Create unique promotional items that leave a lasting impression on potential clients. In some cases, swag can be more appropriate, useful, or memorable — and worth the investment — than bcards.
  • Don’t forget about your digital assets! Clean up your website. Slap your name and logo on your Zoom background. Create graphics for your biz that others can use when promoting you.

🏢 Explore Different Places to Network

Variety isn’t just the spice of life, it can be what puts some zest into your networking efforts and realize some savory results.

  • Attend industry conferences and trade shows. These events are gold mines for connecting with like-minded professionals.
  • Join local business associations and chambers of commerce. Get involved in your community and expand your network.
  • Think outside the box. Courses, clubs, recreational facilities — you can find cool people all over if you open yourself up to the possibility!
  • Be selective and goal-oriented. Networking can be time-consuming and exhausting. So, make the most of your efforts by opting for opportunities that are relevant to your biz objectives.

👩‍💻 Take Advantage of Virtual Venues

IRL is great. But don’t use that as an excuse to ignore the online realm.

  • Engage on social media platforms. Join industry-specific groups, participate in discussions, and share valuable insights.
  • Host or attend networking events. Up the odds of mixing and mingling with your ideal biz crowd by hosting your own power hours or creating your own community to connect with fellow entrepreneurs.

🤝 Leverage Affiliates & Referrals

If you can tap into other people’s audiences (aka OPA), consider yourself favored by Fortune.

  • Collaborate with complementary businesses. Partnering up can lead to mutually beneficial referrals.
  • Incentivize introductions and sharing. Encourage satisfied customers or biz partners to spread the word about your business by offering bonuses or special perks.
  • Ask. If you don’t ask, the answer’s always “No.” So, don’t shy away from seeking help, input, collaboration, etc.

🌱 Build Meaningful Connections

Whatever you do and however you do it, make sure that your laying the foundations for authentic, enduring relationships. They’re hands-down the most rewarding in every way!

  • Be genuine. Show a true interest in others and listen actively during conversations.
  • Follow up promptly. Send personalized follow-up emails or handwritten notes to solidify connections.
  • Don’t — for the love of all that’s good and plenty — ghost. No one likes blowing in the wind.
  • Be generous. Taking without giving is going to rub most people the wrong way. Would you want to help someone who’s always asking for favors without reciprocating? Doubtful….
  • Be kind and respectful. Remember the Golden Rule and all that other stuff you learned in kindergarten? Use it!

You’re In It for the Long Haul

Networking isn’t just a numbers game. It’s an approach to conducting honest and sustainable business. It’s about cultivating relationships based on trust and mutual support.

So, put yourself out there, be creative and open to new connections, and watch your network grow. (And enjoy the ripple effects!)

Empowered, Balanced Business. If that’s a goal you can get behind, EBB&F is for you! You’ll find resources, community, events, and more to help you sustainably thrive in work (and life).

Scroll to Top