By: Danielle Buffard
Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Your startup is everything to you: It gets the best of your efforts and the most of your attention. Therefore, when you decide to mingle and promote your startup, networking with integrity will always be your best option — and that means focusing your networking efforts on being genuinely helpful to those you meet, rather than shamelessly promoting your business or services.
Here are three networking tips you should always keep in mind:
1. Be Yourself
The key to turning people onto your business is that you want them to invest in you and your product or service. The only way that they’ll feel that way is if they trust you — because you are an extension of your business and your services.
At whatever networking events you frequent, you’ll do best if you’re genuine, trustworthy, and authentic. And the best way for potential clientele to see that is to let your startup and its product or service speak for you.
If you’re running a trustworthy and reliable business, then there will be nothing that you have to hide. In turn, not only will you gain loyal clientele but you’ll also achieve favorable word of mouth. They’ll think nothing of recommending you and your product to their friends and family, and you’ll inadvertently become a top contender in your product’s arena amongst competitors.
Being genuine and sharing your knowledge with others will only heighten your business’ reputation in the long run and build up the trust between your clients and your business.
2. Always Follow Up
When you’re out there networking, don’t be afraid to ask for contact information.
Since we’re in the age of all things digital, people are far more apt to give out their email rather than their phone number, and that’s fine. Email marketing is something that has been on the rise in the virtual marketing sphere for quite some time.
It’s always wise to carry business cards with you and to hand them out whenever you talk to someone about your startup and what it’s offering. And if you’re a freelancer like me, there’s no better way to lead people to what it is you do than by having professional business cards on hand to give out to potential clientele.
This way, when you send out a thank-you email or card, the recipient will have a clear recognition of who it is, and they’ll immediately recall what you can do for them and how your product can fit into their business plan.
3. Be Everywhere
When you decide to network yourself and your business, make it a point to get involved not only within your local community, but also in the online marketplace as well. You should always be growing and branching out in every way you can to ensure your business and its product thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
This means keeping your website updated, keeping your social media pages current, and always being available to your current and potential clients when they reach out to you. The more available, authentic, and current you and your business are, the greater chance you have to turn new clients onto your offerings.
Danielle Buffardi is a freelance business journalist who writes for Vistaprint, a leading provider of custom business cards and other marketing products to small businesses all over the world. Danielle has been a professional writer covering entrepreneurship and small business news and trends for over 14 years.