Are you taking all your networking opportunities?

image to support small business marketing blog about networking opportunitiesAre you networking when you have the opportunity?

You know that networking is a key marketing activity for small businesses. There are very few small business owners who can, hand on heart, say they don’t get a fair percentage of their business through networking. The question is: are you maximising the return from your networking opportunities?

Let me give you an example….

If you are in a shared or serviced office building, how often do they run fire drills? You’re inevitably in the middle of an important piece of work and the fire alarm goes off. It isn’t the usual time for an alarm test so you reluctantly hand out. If you’re in a high rise building like me, you’ve got lots of stairs to go down, alongside 100’s of others. You’re then outside for 20 mins or so whilst the fire Marshall li do their thing. What could you do with that time? May I recommend d you go and talk to people you don’t know?

You already have an icebreaker in the fire drill, so it’s easy to start talking. Ask to get to know them as I am sure they also get a lot of their business through networking. Go for a coffee sometime soon and see what happens.

So what other opportunities are there to network:

  • Train delays – certainly if you use Southern Trains
  • Long train journeys
  • Reception areas whilst you wait for a meeting
  • Coffee shop queues

I am sure you can think of other examples where you’ve struck up impromptu conversations that have led to networking opportunities; tweet me @sme_needs with your best ones.

All I would add to this is: don’t abuse your networking opportunities. If you get someone’s business card, follow up properly. Don’t just add their name to your mailing list and spam the hell out of them!