As a business owner, building connections with like-minded professionals can be challenging. You have probably been consumed with growing your business. However, there are a few tips entrepreneurs like you have followed to create a network.
Become a Mentor
One of the most rewarding things you can do as a professional is to volunteer as a mentor. Mentorships give you the opportunity to give back to the community and build connections within your local and business community. You never know what your mentees will do in the future, and they may be in positions where they can help you later in their careers.
You don’t have to reveal secrets of your trade to your mentee. Simply teach them about owning a business, working hard, and going after their dreams through a variety of methods, from phone conversations and coaching to workshops and seminars. Also, if you choose to volunteer through business organizations, such as SCORE, you gain additional connections with entrepreneurs around the country.
Engage in Your Community
First, join any small business association you find in your community. You can also attend local conferences or business meetings. Consider hosting or volunteering at events or sponsoring local teams. Get creative. You may even teach or sponsor an adult education class that relates to your business. The goal is to meet other business leaders.
Reconnect With Old Friends
Throughout your life, you have made connections with all different types of people. You made friends, met teachers and professors in school and college, and made friends at work. You engaged with supervisors and managers in former positions. You can reintroduce yourself to these individuals and maintain connections with those in your life.
Start small, such as sending holiday cards, making phone calls, or connecting over social media. You can also invite friends to the event you are sponsoring. Make sure to keep the contact natural.
Use social media
Social media offers many opportunities for developing a network. Choose platforms that focus on business-minded individuals or those with similar interests. Build your reputation as an expert through group moderation, discussions, and posts on specific topics. You should also participate in conversations or groups started by other like-minded professionals.
As you build an online network, you can turn some of these connections into in-person contacts by meeting with individuals in your geographic area and attending networking events with your contacts.
As you start building your professional network, you will find surprising advantages that will help you and your business now and in the future.