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Expanding Your Business Network 101

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

How many people your business knows is kind of equal to its success. It includes both your former customers and your current ones as well as all of those professional contacts who may be able to help you out in the future. If you don’t focus on expanding it, you won’t be able to grow the way you’d like to either – and it will definitely show on your profits.

Luckily, there are many ways to build your network of contacts in the business world as everyone is looking to do the same thing.

Here is a handful of ways you can ensure growth, work the room, and get new customers onboard at the same time so that you can feel confident that you’re growing rather than shrinking.

First: Are you using social media the right way?

Sure, you know as well as any that social media is key to a successful marketing strategy. Yet, it’s not always enough to just have a few social media profiles and hope that success will show up at a reasonable time.

You’re going to have to put both thought and effort into your social media marketing strategy – while simultaneously making it seem as if you’re very casual about the whole thing. It’s a particularly fine balancing act, and not easy to achieve unless you have someone on your team who knows how to do this very well.

While your followers would love to hear all about your brand and business, they’re going to tune out rather quickly if all you do is trying to sell; help them out in other ways too, communicate with them on their own platforms, and use social media to understand their world.

You might want to consider using video as well, by the way, as this is known to catch people’s attention – plus, you get to demonstrate how your products are used or how it can be used to solve a problem they might have. It’s also a great way for your customers to get to know the face of your brand, though, in an informal and relaxed way.

It’s kind of like face-to-face contact but without the added pressure of actually being face-to-face.

Make a good first impression

When you’d like to expand your network, it means that you’re going to have to reach out to people who still don’t know who you are. An excellent first impression is, therefore, key – and with today’s technology, there is no better way to do this than with a stunning website.

It doesn’t just need to be visually stunning, though, as your prospective customers should be amazed by just how easy it is to navigate as well. We tend to be particularly impatient with websites, and if they need to spend more than just a few seconds at navigating and understanding where to click, they’ll be quick to close your website and look for help elsewhere.

It’s kind of like meeting a person for the first time; if they look messy, ungroomed, and seem particularly difficult to communicate with, you’ll quickly look for somebody else to talk to – or at least search for a way to get out of the awkward conversation as fast as possible.

The first impression people get from your website is so important that you should consider hiring a web design agency if you don’t have someone on your team who knows how to do this well. It takes more than simply putting together a few elements and knowing what white space means, though, and the trends are continuously changing.

A modern website shows those newcomers that you’re staying up to date on the trends, in general, and it will definitely help to lift that important first impression. Now you can focus on selling them the actual product or service, and getting to know them for real.

Plus, by combining your excellent social media skills with that trendy and drop-dead-gorgeous website, your prospective customers will be much more likely to hang around your channels for a while – and you’ll be able to enjoy the sight of those sale numbers going up.

Attend a few networking events

Last, but definitely not least, a good old fashioned networking event will always work in your favour. It should at least work in your favour as long as you know how to make yourself presentable and stay friendly throughout the event.

Remember to bring a stack of business cards, practise your elevator pitch, and look forward to a day or evening of getting to expand your business network for real. If you’ve never really been to a networking event before, it might be a good idea to have a read at this article first to prepare yourself properly.

A good tip is to remember that other people are there to expand their network as well. Go out of your way to be there for others, show an interest in them, and avoid pushing your brand or product on people all the time; we love to talk about ourselves, and by allowing others to do this, you’re also making yourself way more likeable.

Expanding your business network is important for future growth, but it’s also vital to getting the right kind of contacts who may be able to help you out. Think about yourself the same way, and particularly when you’re at that networking event.

The easier you are to talk to, the easier it is to get to know you as well as your business, the more contacts you’ll build – and that is great news for your business.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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