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When you think about what makes an entrepreneur successful, qualities like drive, hard work, resourcefulness, creativity, or confidence likely come to mind. But one of the most commonly overlooked attributes of successful business owners is the ability to build and cultivate strong relationships.
Like the expression says, it’s not just what you know but who you know.
Benefits of Having Solid Business Relationships
Not sure why your ability to develop a solid network and nurture those relationships is invaluable? Here are 3 of the major benefits:
Networking can help you gain new customers, attract top talent, and meet people who have connections to influential professionals in your industry.
Establishing good relationships with people helps you promote your business through word of mouth. Your network connections can inform others about what you do and vouch for you to potential customers, suppliers, or service providers.
Along with each person you meet comes the potential to create more relationships with that person’s network.
Tips for Building Up Your Network
If your relationships are lacking and you need a little help building up your network, consider the following tips:
Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram can all be great places to connect with like-minded peers, entrepreneurs, and service providers. LinkedIn is especially useful for finding and connecting with professionals within your industry.
Be yourself! People like to work with people they trust who are 100% genuine and real. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Remember, solid business relationships are built on honesty.
Although it may feel a bit uncomfortable to walk up to someone you don’t know or to put yourself out there on social media, remember that it can have huge rewards. Also, accept that you may get some rejections, and that’s ok. Not every person you meet may be open to building a relationship.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce or research networking groups in your area. Attending meetings and mixers allow you to mingle with other business owners and strike up conversations in a relaxed setting.
Networking is all about creating mutually beneficial relationships. Don’t do all the talking and be a good listener by asking questions to learn more about what the person you are speaking with does and how you can help.
A huge part of maintaining a strong relationship is nurturing it. Reach out to people in your network to periodically check in, say happy birthday, or share helpful information. Stay top of mind by staying in touch.
Applying these tips will help you improve your networking skills, but remember that building and cultivating good relationships takes time and effort.
For more small business resources from SBG Funding, click here.
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