When was the last time you went to a networking event? Do you avoid them because you’re too busy? If so, you could be missing out on an opportunity to meet, mingle and support your community.
Business organizations often search for ways to connect companies with community. For example, local chambers of commerce often hold fundraisers to benefit people in the companies they represent. Participating in these events could help your company get more involved in the area where you serve.
Here are four ways to boost your neighborhood involvement and help your company expand its reach in the community.
1. Attend Several Types of Networking Events
There are a variety of networking events you can attend. Some of them, such as mixers, are focused primarily on making business connections. Others have a main focus of giving back to your community. For example, a golf tournament is a great place to network while you raise money for scholarship funds (or any other cause).
Attend a variety of these types of events. Each one will give your business exposure to new people in the community, while also positioning your brand with a variety of good causes.
2. Make it a Team Effort
You know the expression, ‘the more the merrier?’ It holds true in networking too.
Bring a team member along to as many networking events as you can. This will give your company more facetime in front of potential clients and business partners.
Schedule in your team members so you know you always have someone to stand by your side during these events. When scheduling, make sure you bring the people who enjoy being around others and making new connections. Some employees might prefer to stay in the office while others, such as Millennials, will look forward to getting out into the community. Find out what your team members prefer and then use this as a perk to keep them happy and engaged with your business.
3. Don’t Get Too Attached to the Comfort Zone
It’s easy to fall into the trap of talking to the same people at each event. Although there’s value in building relationships over time, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.
Striking up a conversation with other people might feel uncomfortable at first but it’s worthwhile. Don’t fear the small talk because this is the type of conversation that could develop into bigger business down the road.
4. Scope Out Strategic Business Partners
Your time is limited at networking events, so make the most of it by scoping out the right people to talk to. Instead of talking only to potential customers, try to find potential business partners who will refer you to your target market. For example, if you have a fitness studio, you might do well focusing your time on talking to others in the health industry instead of individuals who want to lose weight.
Networking is a great way to expand your reach into the community. Maximize your presence by:
– Attending a variety of networking events
– Bringing along various members of your team
– Breaking free from the comfort zone
– Forging new business partnerships
The more you can do this, the bigger your reputation will be. What is your favorite way to meet others and build your community involvement?
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.