To say we’re going through unprecedented times has got to be an understatement. With a recession looming and the economy facing so many uncertainties it’s impossible not to feel uneasy about what the future holds.
However, there are things we can be doing to help prepare ourselves and our businesses for what could lay ahead, one of which is strengthening our personal and professional networks.
Creating a strong network is valuable for many reasons; finding new clients, accessing information, knowledge transfer, career development, personal development, the list goes on. But how can we possibly work on developing our networks when we can’t even meet in person?
Building relationships remotely is definitely a challenge, gone are the breakfast sandwiches and chatting over coffee. We need to be strategic about our approach and make sure we’re building the right relationships to help us re-build our businesses, and the economy.
Here are my top tips to help you get started:
People often focus on meeting new people when they think of networking, and neglect those they’ve already met! Now is the perfect time to re-connect with people who are already in your network and really nurture those relationships. Look through your LinkedIn connections and see who pops up – if you haven’t spoken this year drop them a line and reconnect over (virtual) coffee; who knows where the conversation might lead!
Finding one new client can be a lot of work, save yourself time and money by collaborating with business whom offer a complimentary product or service to your own and gain many new clients in one go. As long as you trust they’ll look after your clients, creating mutually beneficial relationships can result in multiple, on-going referrals giving you lots of new customers in a much more efficient manner.
Creating a networking strategy is paramount, just as you would for any other form of marketing activity. Knowing what your networking goals are, who your looking to connect with, and what return you except from your investment will really help ensure you’re getting the most from your networking activities.
Offering support to those is your network, especially during uncertain times, is a powerful way to build relationships remotely. By helping others you’re showing yourself as someone who’s valuable to know and in turn, more people will want to know you. Marketing yourself and your business by simply being nice is a very powerful way to build a positive professional reputation quickly.
You have so much knowledge, share it! Giving advice and supporting those in your network by sharing valuable information and knowledge in your area of expertise is the perfect way to showcase yourself as an expert in your field, as well as adding value to those who know you. Giving a little will mean you’ll receive a lot.’