Networking For Small Businesses
Let’s talk networking for small businesses. Networking is vital to small businesses because networking is about building relationships. Relationships are the foundation for success and sustainability for any business endeavor. A good relationship can be a gateway to many different kinds of opportunities and a catalyst for learning and growth. People want to give their business to those they trust, and networking your way to an established relationship is a key part of earning that trust and subsequent business.

Here are a few nuts and bolts to consider when it comes to networking for your small business:

Get To Know Your Community
Small businesses have the large task of carving out a niche for themselves. The most beneficial way of finding your niche is by making personal connections and getting to know the other businesses in your community. By serving the same general population, you all have a common vested interest, learning from one another how best to manage and grow your respective businesses and contribute to your community in the process.

Mutually Beneficial
Nobody likes a one sided relationship, so don’t count on receiving support if you don’t plan on returning the favor. It’s the classic principle of “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”. The best relationships are formed around this type of give and receive mentality. Networking will help you establish which goods and services are relevant to your operations and allow you to be on the giving and receiving end of referrals, which are a lifeline for small business success.

Broaden Your Horizons
There are many different types of networks in addition to those within your local community. Consider joining and participating in a few different professional networks, trade associations, or charitable organizations. Join professional organizations online. All these opportunities can provide your small business with opportunities to grow and expand in different areas. These types of organizations can also be valuable professional resources, giving you the chance to seek advice and learn from others with similar backgrounds and service demographics.

Take Advantage of Social Networks
Social media is social; it’s your chance to connect with other business owners, local officials, as well as potential clients. Many social networks already have local or professional pages online, you can search for them inside whichever platform you like best. LinkedIn is always a great resource for building your network. Online social networks give you the chance to network on your own schedule and form relationships without a lot of time investment.

People want to see small businesses succeed; we depend on them to drive the health of the economy. Make it a priority to expand your professional network to include those who can help your business grow, be successful, and and most of all, make sure the favor is returned. Building good, reciprocal relationships is the universal key to success for small businesses and individuals alike.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!