graphics with words how to network as a small business owner

How to Network as a Small Business Owner

category: Business

Networking is essential for small business owners, but it can be daunting for those who don't feel comfortable meeting or socializing. Here are some tips to help you network effectively:

  • Start small at first. If you're feeling overwhelmed, start by attending smaller events or meeting with people one-on-one.
  • Before you decide to jump in, try and do some research to learn about the people who will be at the event. This will help prepare you and make you feel a little more confident when you start talking to them.
  • Focus on the benefits and remember all the ways that networking can help your business, such as finding new customers, building relationships, and getting feedback. Meeting new people isn't as terrible as you think and many of those you meet will feel just as apprehensive as you do. 
  • Setting realistic goals is probably the realistic approach to take. Don't expect to walk away from every event with a new client or partner. Set small, achievable goals for yourself, such as making two new connections or learning about one new industry trend. Meeting people may also mean you learn something new totally outwith your own field of business.
  • Relax and be yourself. People can spot a fake a mile away, so just be yourself and let your natural personality shine through. I hate it when I meet a 'Jack the lad, cocky type' as I always feel there is something about them I can't trust. 
  • Take a break if you start to feel overwhelmed and you feel it's a little too overwhelming. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, or step outside and take a few deep breaths.
  • This one is important, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're struggling with social anxiety, don't be afraid to ask for help from a friend, or family member.

Networking can be a challenge for anyone, but it's especially difficult for people who aren't comfortable socially. However, by following these tips, you can make networking a more manageable and even enjoyable experience.

Additional tips for small business owners:

  • Prepare ahead of time. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when you start talking to people.
  • Bring a friend or colleague with you. Having someone you know and trust with you can help you feel more comfortable and supported.
  • Focus on the positive. Think about all the benefits that networking can offer your business. This will help you stay motivated and positive, even if you're feeling anxious.
  • Be patient. It takes time to build relationships and develop a network. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Just keep networking and eventually, you'll start to see the benefits.

Remember, you're not alone. Many small business owners struggle with networking. But with a little effort, you can gain confidence and use networking to grow your business.


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