Networking is about interacting with people and engaging them for mutual benefit. It can help you establish a new business or grow an existing one. You can also use networking as a tool for finding investors, customers, staff, suppliers and business partners with minimal cost to your business.
This is according to Business Queensland.
“You can network face-to-face at social events, conferences and through industry associations. You can also network online, through sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The more ways you can network, the more your business will benefit.”
South Africa’s top female entrepreneurs offer the following few networking tips:
Identify the target audience and find out how best to reach them
Once this has been established, network within your industry by attending seminars and workshops. Ask for advice and reach out to mentors: Meisie Nkosi, Bella Bonni Guest House MD
Live the brand
Always project an image of professionalism as there is only a seven second window to make a strong impression: Neli Magubane, chairman of Matleng Energy Solutions
Share an overview of the business to as many people as possible. While a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs are afraid that their business ideas may be stolen, it is important to share an overview of your business to many people. It’s all about who you know (and who they know: Stacey Brewer, CEO and co-founder of Spark Schools
When networking, always have business cards available
New clients can be found in the most unexpected places: Nerina Smithland, CEO of Smithland Guest Apartments
Add a personal touch to your company’s offering
In order to stand out from the crowd. The best form of marketing is word of mouth, so always give customers something good to talk about: Chanette Goosen, Rush Extreme Sports MD
Use passion to market your story
Passion plays a huge part in becoming a successful entrepreneur as it constantly reminds people of why the business was started in the first place and what the mission statement is: Mishje Cooper, owner of Zoo-Zoo Land Daycare
Use social media
Social media is best used to garner attention for products and services, as well as to build strong brand awareness, communicate and engage with customers and potential clients. It is also useful to network and engage with peer communities: Cara Nortman, SSQ Exhibitions MD
Looking for further reach for the business?
Consider social media. It is a low cost form of advertising and marketing that can even be utilised from a smartphone. Create profiles across the various platforms and use Instagram to link your posts together. Work at it daily to ensure consistent interest and engagement: Gali Gaon Segall, owner of Yemaya Group