How Relationship Building Can Grow Your Business
Business owners have lots of spinning plates. When water bills and contracts loom large, it can be easy to forget about networking. Networking is one of the overlooked yet essential parts of growing your business.
Most professions focus their energies on promoting their goods and services. This is just one piece of the puzzle. If you do not promote your business to like-minded individuals, you run the risk of becoming redundant.
Networking has evolved a lot in recent years. Gone are the days of stuffy conference rooms and all the expenses that come with international trips. You can start networking from the comfort of your home. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and even Facebook can be springboards for building professional relationships.
The energy comparison site Business Energy supports professionals by providing bite-sized chunks of actionable information. They know how important it is to make business connections. Their experts have created a guide with all the information you need to start networking.
Benefits of Networking in the UK
We cannot understate the importance of networking. Here are some of the most positive outcomes of networking.
- Like-minded friends – Business acquaintances can soon become firm friends. It is invaluable to have another set of expert eyes on a problem, especially for people who are just starting to grow their business. Lots of people who dive into the world of networking find a mentor and a friend. Instead of Googling solutions to problems you can pick up the phone and call your new business connection.
- Highlight your unique selling point – Every business owner knows that they need a unique selling point. Your USP can set you apart from other similar businesses in the UK. By networking, you can spread the message and let other people know why your business matters.
- Build your confidence – Networking events are opportunities to create relationships and even improve your presentation and delivery style. Once you have explained your mission statement 100 times there will be far fewer kinks in your delivery. You might even have the opportunity to present your thoughts in front of a group of your peers.
- Develop new ideas – It is always helpful to look at a situation from a different perspective. Network events can provide you with the insight you need to further one of your projects. Networking with people in similar and even different industries can encourage you to probe your own preconceived notions
Networking in Modern Times
The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped a lot of in-person networking events in the UK. In the last two years, most networking opportunities have been online. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have been at the center of blossoming business relationships for years.
Top Tips for Building Relationships
The people at Business Energy know that networking can be daunting. Networking is a whole new world for a lot of professionals. Lots of business owners work hard to get their company off the ground only to realize that they are missing an essential piece of the puzzle.
The sooner you start building relationships the sooner your business will flourish. You do not have to work tirelessly to create professional relationships with other business-minded individuals. Once you have put our top tips into action, you will reap the benefits.
Look for Business Energy Networking Events
You can either network in person or online. Networking online can seem daunting for some entrepreneurs. Online networking provides people with a quick and easy way to connect with individuals across the globe. It does not have the personal factor that comes with meeting face to face. Lots of more traditional business owners can see the benefit of making eye contact with potential professional contacts.
There are lots of websites dedicated to finding business network groups in the UK. It is important to know that well-established networking groups come with a fee. The Institute of Directors is one example of an exclusive business network. As the name suggests, this group is exclusive to directors. It is often called one of the best business networks in the UK. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Institute of Directors has reduced its fees. Directors can become members for just £35 per month.
You can also find region-specific business networking events with a simple Google search. You can even join a local networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn. Relevant events and posts will be pushed to the top of your feed. This is one of the easiest ways to find like-minded people. Networking does not have to be difficult. With this method, you pick and choose relevant in-person networking events that pop up on your feed when you have a spare minute.
Use LinkedIn to Find New Business Relationships
LinkedIn is the number one choice for business-minded individuals. It provides a platform for business owners, job seekers, and freelancers to establish themselves within their industries.
The platform, which started in 2002, allows users to find professional connections through a variety of filters. You can search for phrases like ‘business energy consultant’ or ‘business energy CEO’ to narrow down the people that you want to build a professional relationship with.
Once you have found someone that you want to build a relationship with, you can connect with them. When you have built an online network, you can use the ‘people you may know feature’ to further expand your network.
The messaging feature is the perfect opportunity to get to know other business owners. However, the best way to build a long-lasting, reactive network on LinkedIn is to post regularly. You can post about all sorts of things on LinkedIn.
By creating thought pieces, graphics, and reactive articles, you can show that you are invested in your industry. Original content will attract new connections and spark conversations within your existing network. You can position yourself as a source of information in your industry.
Prepare for Networking Events
It takes a fraction of a second for a potential connection to develop an opinion about you. Here are a few things that you can do to prepare for your networking event.
- Update your online presence – You do not want to give prospective professionals a link to an out of date website or a social media account that has not been updated in the last five years. By updating all your accounts and websites, you can show prospective connections that you are present in current industry conversations. Make sure to add your latest accomplishments and promotions to your profile.
- Prepare your pitch – The simplest advice can often be the most difficult. There is nothing worse than floundering for an answer when someone asks what your business does. ‘Elevator speeches’ are short, concise descriptions about your business or projects. Concise answers are far more attractive than long, rambling mission statements.
- Invest in eye-catching business cards – Professionals have seen thousands of innovative and interesting business card designs. Invest in a graphic designer who can create an eye-catching concept. Funny and interesting cards show that you pay your employees well and invest in appearances. Most people at networking events will not even purchase business cards. They will simply hand out links to their social media platforms and websites. You can stick in someone’s mind with a well-crafted business card. They might even find it when they are sifting through their pockets a day or two later.
Craft Personalised Messages to Connections
There is nothing worse than a generic message. Anyone can copy and paste an introductory message and send it to hundreds of new contacts. With the number of emails and messages that professionals get every day, your message will not stand out.
We recommend creating personalised messages. You can find tailored information on social media platforms. You should always use your connection’s first name and title in new messages. A good idea to draw parallels between their work and yours. Doing so shows that you are a valuable connection that can relate to, and even improve, their current project.
Build Professional Relationships With Connections
One of the ways that you can build professional relationships is by being active online. Professionals have so many things to think about that offering advice to other professionals might seem like the last thing on their to-do lists.
Building relationships does not have to take up all of your time. Social media means that you can create connections and spark conversations during a five-minute window after work. Once you have curated a community of similar professionals, building relationships is easy.
- Send an email to follow up on someone’s project that you talked about at an in-person networking event.
- Post a comment underneath an article on LinkedIn.
- Simply react to posts that spark your interest.
From time to time, professionals will reach out to their network through polls, questions, and articles. This is an easy way for you to engage with the community. You can even post your own polls. Polls are perfect for people who do not have time to engage in lengthy debates but who want to engage with the community and express their opinions.