Business networking can be intimidating but is a great way to grow your business. Consumers often choose to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Networking with other business owners can help people get to know, like, and trust you. Mentioning BBB when you are networking can help to build that trust even faster. Think of your networking group as your extended marketing team that can help you meet people in your community you need to make your business thrive. There are typically three types of networking: networking events, networking groups, and speed networking.

Networking events are typically an open forum, like a happy hour or brunch, where it is up to you to connect with people in the room. These events require you to be invested in meeting people and taking the initiative to introduce yourself to others.

Business Conclave 2022 on April 29 networking opportunity for MSMEs

 As the year 2022-23 starts to regain a sense of normalcy, new business trends are emerging. Small and mid-sized business owners (MSMEs) are looking to reunite to plan & ignite their businesses again, especially to make up for the last 2 years slowdown with aggressive strategy of growth this FY. 

MSME Business forum, as an initiative has planned a ‘Business Conclave 2022’ on April 29, 2022, to give a promising start to Indian MSMEs with networking & knowledge sharing opportunities under one event. 

This would also help in developing understanding about the schemes & scope implemented through various policies by GOI as well as make entrepreneurs dialogue with industry leaders, experts & policy makers that would help in better planning and execution of their business plans in 2022-23 to grow and capture new markets.

Business Conclave 2022 received an overwhelming response from esteemed dignitaries, ambassadors, influencers, and members confirming their participation. The Conclave will host discussions on key national initiatives as well as emerging global agendas.

MSME Business forum is a network hub of erstwhile corporate executives, investors, and industry experts striving to enhance the MSME and SME profitability by ensuring ease of doing business through interventions of subject matter experts.

Business Networking Group

Networking groups are guided events that include an opportunity for each person to tell everyone who they are and what they do, often within 30 seconds to a minute. There are many group models, and some may have rules for joining the group. For instance, some groups require dues while many others are free to attend. A “seat-protected” networking group only allows for one person per industry in the group. Groups also typically offer the opportunity for members to conduct spotlight presentations to everyone in attendance.

It is important to visit a networking group multiple times to determine if you want to join and if it is the right fit for your business. Networking groups often meet on a weekly schedule which allows group members to get to know one another and offer connections to other people in the community. Due to the pandemic, many groups offer a hybrid option of meeting online and in person.

Speed networking is structured and timed interactions with other attendees. They are usually limited to two to five minutes to allow attendees to get to know each other before switching partners. It is important to recognize that this is not designed to rapid-fire sales pitches but to engage with community businesses across a wide range of industries.

Preparing to Business network Dressing professionally. This might be a suit for some or a uniform for others depending on your industry. You are representing your company and should keep the brand in mind when interacting in your community. You can even go a step further and wear brand colours to each public event to consistently reinforce your business’s identity.

Business Community Network

The event will offer the business community an opportunity to engage with community, network with local professionals, engage with exhibitors, and discover resources for business growth. It will highlight forty-three community businesses and allow for large-scale networking, as well an opportunity for new products and services to be introduced in the Upcounty community. In addition to a great community event, this is a terrific opportunity to support our local Upcounty economy and focus on shopping local.

“Our businesses have been hit hard in the past 2 years,” said Marilyn Balcombe, GGCC President and CEO. “This is a fantastic way to show support of our local businesses and see what they have offer.”

Come explore our community and support our local businesses at this premiere event. Attendees will enjoy free admission, free networking, entertainment, dozens of exhibitors, a variety of businesses, and more.

Wear a branded nametag.

Nametags should be worn on the right shoulder to allow someone to easily glance at your name as you extend your hand for a handshake or fist bump. There will be a lot of introductions made at most networking events and wearing a nametag helps attendees remember who you are and what business you are representing

  • Have your 30-second pitch ready. You should be able to say who you are and what you do in a direct and concise way. Some people even add a catchphrase to further build their brand. For example, “When you want to start with trust, start with us.” Practice your pitch repetitively until you have it memorized and can be said naturally and easily.

There are people that can help you build an effective and informative pitch, but it is up to you to deliver it well.

  • Bring your business cards. Business cards should be shared when you want to follow up with a connection and to remember who you’ve met. When you exchange cards, write a few reminders on their card of where you met them and what you want to follow up with them about.

Adding these notes will help you remember the details later as you most likely will collect several cards during the meeting.

At the meeting show up early. Find your spot and start chatting with the people around you, asking about their industry, profession, and what interests they have in attending the networking event. If you see someone standing or sitting alone, engage them in conversation and introduce yourself. This is a great way to calm your nerves and help someone who may also be feeling a little nervous.

  • Take notes. Write down a little bit about each person and what they do. You may include notes about what they are wearing or a physical characteristic so you can remember who they are after the introductions are complete and the networking begins. Think about ways your business may be able to help them or how they may help you.

Keep track of who you want to connect with after the meeting.

  • Present with passion. Show the people in the room that you love what you do so they will want to learn more. Move your eyes across the room and make eye contact with several members of the group while presenting to draw them in to what you are saying.

Making eye contact is a great way to show respect, interest and makes a better connection.

  • Minimize distractions. Do your best to be fully engaged in the moment and carefully listen to others while they are presenting. Silence your phone before the presentations or introductions begin and, if you absolutely must answer a call, be sure that your conversation will not disrupt the attention of others.

Think about how you want people to act when you are presenting and do that for them.

After the meetingFollow up. It is best to establish communications with new connections within 24 hours after the networking event. Look at the business cards you collected and the notes you took to determine who you will be reaching out to and why. When contacting the person, refer to the networking event where you met and ask about their meeting preference (phone, virtual, in-person, etc.) and availability.

  • Share openly about yourself. Share a combination of professional and personal information about yourself. This is the time to let them get to know you as a person, not to pitch a product or service.

It doesn’t need to be extremely personal but talking about more than your work and what you do is important in building the relationship.

  • Listen, ask, connect. Encourage your connection to talk about themselves with open-ended questions such as, “What got you interested in your profession?” or “What do you most enjoy about your work?” Listen carefully to their answers as they will provide an opportunity for you to build mutual respect. Ask what resources and connections you possess could be used to help them accomplish their goals, and then openly share those resources without receiving something in return.

If they are comfortable, ask if you could connect on social media. LinkedIn is often the most appropriate for business relationships, but you can also follow their business accounts on other platforms.

  • Check-in. Check back with them from time to time to see how things are going and to give them any updates you might have on information, resources, or connections you have for them.

See if they would be interested in scheduling a follow-up meeting to discuss other ways you could assist one another.

Networking should always focus on how you can help the other person, not how they can help you. When starting a new business relationship, it is important to build trust and goodwill to establish a strong foundation. While the end goal of networking is to increase sales or leads, it should not be the focus. This will come naturally as people come to know, like and trust you, opening their personal and business networks for you to expand and network further. Before you know it, word-of-mouth will take your business to the next level as you build lasting and genuine relationships in your community.