In our corporate jobs networking was important for Susan and I. Now we have our own business it's still important. We just find we're doing it differently. Being just the two of us we don't have those day-to-day workplace networking opportunities. We've had to replace them with a solid mix of proactive face-to-face and online networking.
The biggest revelation for us has been to power of the small business networks.
Annabel & Susan at Queensland Small Business Summit Networking Event
When you start you own small business you initially become the master of everything. It's you doing the planning, the sales, the marketing, the accounts, the product development. Everything. What you soon realise is you need to be able to get some support and assistance from others. The great thing about small business networks is they understand what it's like. And they are so willing to assist and share their learnings and expertise with you. All you have to do is ask.
Just a quick reminder of why networking is important?
- To get business leads
- To stay connected
- To learn from others and keep up with best practice
Where to go for face-to-face networking:
- We were recently included in a Queensland Government initiative 100 Faces of Small Business and we have used the aligned events as an opportunity to connect with like-minded business owners.
- Get involved in local B-2-B networking groups or your local chamber. For us Business South Bank resonates geographically and because of its membership make-up.
- Attend professional development workshops. They are a great forum to up-skill as well as an effective environment to expand your connections.
Where to go for online networking:
- Facebook groups. What I find valuable is you are able to join groups that align with your business focus and goals. It's possible to search groups that will help you with your professional development and business growth.
- LinkedIn is the world's largest social network for professionals and is the perfect platform for a small business owner to connect with other professionals and potential customers. With LinkedIn it isn't all about numbers; you want to ensure the network you're growing is right for you and your business. Be strategic about the connections you accept. Similar to Facebook, they also have LinkedIn Groups where you can engage like-minded members in conversation.
- Business blogs. Either follow them or start your own. Regardless, business blogs are a great way to develop or be part of a community. Via comments, blogs provide another opportunity to engage with people with shared interests. You never know a blog interaction could evolve from a loyal supporter to a business contact or client.
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Strategic Social Profiles write a regular blog to provide professionals and small business owners with collated information of all things social media. We strive to share our experience and knowledge and assist our readers on how to Social It Yourself and reap the benefits from effective social media. We provide ongoing tips, e-books, infographics and insights to help Small Business Owners.