How to Network from Home and Grow Your Small Business
Entrepreneurship and networking go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. Networking is essential for your small business because it allows you to build relationships that can be instrumental to your growth. Whether you’re hoping to secure investment, find your next business partner, or meet a mentor, networking can help you do that.
Before COVID-19 interrupted our normal lives, networking was simple. You found an event or happy hour, packed some business cards, and made connections. Now, networking from home requires a little more planning, intentionality, and clarity.
Leverage your LinkedIn
When was the last time you intentionally logged into LinkedIn? Not just to scroll through the feed, but to engage with your network. LinkedIn is a great starting point for business networking because it makes conversation starters simple. Whether it’s congratulating someone on their work anniversary, celebrating a milestone, or simply saying hello, LinkedIn has a way of making connections simple and not painful.
Use this social media platform to your advantage by connecting with other like-minded business owners who might be able to help you through these difficult times.
Find a Facebook group
Facebook groups can be a great online networking tool for your small business. There’s a group for every industry or interest, which means there’s space for you in these virtual communities. Facebook groups are a great way to surround yourself with individuals who share similar passions as yours. Finding a group fit for your needs can be as simple as clicking through the search bar.
Remember that joining a group doesn’t ensure success. Engagement is essential when it comes to networking. So, make sure to show up consistently and be an ally to others in your community.
Meet locals on Meetup
I came across the website Meetup.com when I was desperate to meet local like-minded business owners. As an introvert, I tend to avoid networking events because my social anxiety gets the best of me. However, Meetup made it easy to find events catered to my location and interest. While in-person meetups aren’t available at this time, there are still plenty of virtual events to choose from.
Show up on social media
One of the easiest (and often overlooked) ways of virtually networking to grow your small business is to show up on social media. I know, I know, social media can often be addicting and a total time waster if you’re only scrolling through your feed. However, if you engage and show up for others on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you never know what those interactions can lead too. I’ve built some amazing friendships with fellow entrepreneurs by simply responding to messages on Instagram.
Remember that engagement is a two-way street. If you want to build lasting relationships, you have to be willing to invest your time into them. Communication is key.