It has always been this way, but nowadays even more. Having a good address book has become essential for entrepreneurs. But contrary to what happens with large corporations, where calls and meetings come by themselves, new businesses must make huge efforts to achieve their goals in the field of networking, since benefits are important for the deal.
And it is that there will be few who will contact a new businessman. And the reason will be none other than ignorance. If nobody knows about the existence of the entrepreneur or the company, it is impossible to increase the agenda without their own initiative. Hence, one of the first obligations of every businessman will be to pick up the phone and arrange meetings with anyone who can contribute something of value to the company that has just been created.
To successfully complete the task, it is essential to know how to behave in the first meeting that is maintained with possible contact. The key word in this regard is to listen. If we are not able to pay attention to what our interlocutor tells us, it will be practically impossible to have close contact with that person, since what could be called a factor of sympathy is directly related to our ability to listen and also to know how to respond to the comments of our interlocutor.
Currently, the work scenario is no longer managed with the strategies that guaranteed success 10 years ago. The importance of contacts as a network of invisible offers – that are not found on the web or known – makes many of the traditional mechanisms of job search and that promote labor relations appear ineffective. With this in mind…
What is the importance of networking for SMEs?
The first thing is to know what the concept of networking means. In simple words, it is a network that unites companies, clients, suppliers and collaborators, where they achieve synergies and common benefits through events, social networks, business spaces and professional preparation (such as courses, diplomas and specializations in general).
Networking for SMEs
For small and medium-sized companies, it is an excellent tool for growth and expansion, since it allows them to cover a broader market, link innovative ideas, and create associations and alliances of great potential, which later become the monsters of the market.
To successfully generate a network of contacts with new clients, suppliers, investors, new talents and strategic alliances, it is recommended to be part of the 6M Methodology (in the Networking for SMEs process). A Fortune 500 study showed that the most successful leaders spend 57% of their time developing contacts and networks, while average leaders spend only 13%.
Networking and Accountants
For an SME, an accountant is a key figure and a great commercial ally, since he is a potential advisor in business matters, someone with whom it is convenient to build trust and a strategic relationship. Accountants accompany companies in the networking process, in order to establish a symbiosis between organizations, and taking advantage of the space prepared to share contacts and build relationships.
Strategies for Networking
There are many ways to network, but almost all contemplate the use of social networks and attendance at events and fairs. The important thing is that you know how to take advantage of this tool to achieve tangible benefits in your business.
1. Where to look for events and contacts?
On Twitter, LinkedIn, the Chamber of Commerce and in professional associations. There you can get good ideas to go to events and get good contacts. In addition, attending specialization courses in your professional area, and returning to contact with former bosses, colleagues and workers, will allow you to expand your network of contacts. Once you have many contacts, hire professionals, like CMIT Solutions, to setup your email for newsletters and all the other necessary things.
2. Define your goal and strategy
Be clear about why you go to a networking event: Promotion? Financing? Recognition? Customers? So you can prepare better. You should also know who will go, what they do and how they do it, because this way you will know who to talk to and you will be able to develop much more productive topics of conversation.
3. Make a good impression
Choose the appropriate wardrobe for the type of event you will attend. It will not always be necessary to dress formally. Also, watch your body language; Make eye contact, smile and stay positive, remember that the first impression is the one that counts.
4. Prepare you speech
No one knows the product better than you. Prepare your speech, don’t improvise it! You have a short amount of time to attract potential clients or collaborators, and generate interest for a later conversation.
5. Use your contact cards
Your card is your cover letter, so it is important that it is of quality and attracts attention since it is part of your professional image, it must provide relevant information such as who you are, what your business is and how to contact you by different means. Do not give it indiscriminately, give it only to those who are interested in you and your proposal.
6. Choose your words wisely
Another of the entrepreneur’s missions is to know how to use the right words. The first objective is to avoid that our doubts can be answered with “yes” or “no”. First, because we are left without knowing the details and, second, because the conversation loses pace and, consequently, interest. In order to achieve a good talk, you must always keep in mind the result that a word like “tell me” can offer.
What to do after a Networking event?
It is essential that you organize your new contacts and follow up on the interactions that occurred, in order to strengthen the bond established in that first contact. On the other hand, it is always good to update your content and profile on social networks, showing what you are doing and the results you have obtained.
Follow interest groups, ask questions, make comments, promote your blog and set a pace of communication, thus opening the door to new business opportunities, a key point of networking for SMEs.