Do you have a business? Or, maybe you’re in the earliest stages of setting one up. If so, then you’ll want to meet as many people as you can who might be able to help you achieve your goals.
You’ll want to attend as many networking events as you possibly can to expand the network of people you have in your circle. But what different types of small business networking events are there out there and which ones are going to be the most useful for you to attend?
Here’s everything you need to know.
1. The Elevator Pitch
One of the best small business networking events to attend is the 2-minute elevator pitch. Ever been stuck in an elevator with someone? Those few minutes can either be very awkward as you wonder what to speak about with the person or they can be illuminating.
You could tell them all about your latest project or business and they could be just the person you are looking for.
Attending a networking event to help you improve your elevator pitch is a great way of sharpening your skillset. You could work out how you are going to distill your ideas into an easily digestible soundbite.
2. Cocktail Hours
A networking event centered around snacks and cocktails is going to have a distinctly informal vibe to it, and this is perfectly OK. Events like these are designed to break the ice and it’s often on a night out where you’ll make long-lasting friends that could turn into more useful connections.
One of the best networking tips is to remember that business connections take time to build just as friendships do. You don’t have to drink at all but go with an open mind and a care-free attitude and you might find yourself opening up to potential business connections.
3. Coffee Shop Meetups
Networking over coffee is the standard way to network. It’s laidback and you will be able to meet a larger number of people for longer conversations than you would over an elevator pitch meeting.
At the same time, coffee business networking events are not as informal as late-night networking events. You might be expected to bring your own stand or booth. Check out https://rockwayexhibits.com/ if you need one.
Many times, it’s best to still wear a suit or at the very least something not too casual. Many of the people who attend will likely want to head back to work soon.
It’s tempting during a coffee networking event to sit down in one place and to stay there. But try to avoid doing that even if everyone else is. You need to be on your toes speaking to everyone. It’s only by speaking to everyone that you can decide whether there is anyone at that meeting who can potentially help you.
Business Cards and Social Media Handles
Remember to take lots of business cards to hand out to people and to have your social media handles ready. LinkedIn is traditionally the social media site of business and commerce and the one you are most likely to have the most success at.
Yet, this also depends on what industry you’re in. If you’re looking for someone great at marketing or you want an influencer to help you sell your business, then it would make more sense to get their Instagram handles.
Or, for example, if you are attending a fashion or design networking event then you can research everyone’s Pinterest accounts to see what boards they have created.
At the moment many small businesses are struggling to find and hold on to top talent during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Social media can help you forge more meaningful connections.
4. Online Networking
The pandemic has killed off most face-to-face networking in Western countries. With lockdowns happening left-right-and-center, most networking is now happening online.
And this is actually a great opportunity. Unlike at any other point in history, you now have access to any business or professional living anywhere in the world. Almost 7 billion people are now online and waiting for you to find them.
Searching for Online Networking Events
So, just how do you access these business networking events? Start on LinkedIn and do a general networking search. See what events are coming up.
If you have your colleagues on LinkedIn then try reaching out to them. Find out what they are doing with their lives at the moment and see if their professional roles fit in what you are doing.
Have a scourer of their contacts and see if they are connected with anyone useful you might like to meet. Then suggest to them that they set up a networking event.
If worse comes to worse, you could always set up a networking event yourself. Decide which platform is best for your purposes. You can check out Skype, Zoom, or even Amazon Chime.
Small Business Networking Events Are Critical
Small business networking events are great. They can help you find the people you need to launch your small business into the success you know it can be.
Decide what kind of people you need for your business but also try to be of help to other people and see if you can help them. Decide whether you feel more comfortable meeting people for drinks at night or for coffee during the day. Remember, online networking events are also now very popular because of the pandemic.
If you are interested in learning more about ways to stand out at work, be sure to check out the rest of our site.