The success of your business depends on the people you surround yourself with. Whether they are active in your day-to-day, or only behind the scenes, your professional network is your support system, helping you navigate the ebb and flow of being an entrepreneur in today’s fast-paced, competitive business climate.
Read on for our top tips on how to cultivate a rock-solid professional network, including how to build and maintain these relationships for maximum benefit.
1. Make your presence known
Building a professional network is much like building your business: you need to let people know that you exist. Find out who the movers and shakers are in your area, and find out where they go to network, mix, and mingle – then make a point of going there too. If they don’t know you exist, you don’t stand a chance. If they do, you have an opportunity to build new business, make valuable connections, and get the inside scoop on what’s up in your business sector.
2. Check out the local coworking space
Coworking is popular for many reasons. It sparks innovation, energizes people to be more productive, and opens you up to a world of other people and businesses that may be complementary to yours. Even if your local coworking space doesn’t have a lot of people who do exactly what you do, chances are you can meet people who have expertise in services you need, and vice versa. You just never know who you’re going to meet, so put yourself out there and see what transpires.
3. Attend office networking events
If you work in a flexible office space environment like My Annapolis Office, you automatically have access to regular networking and social events. Attending these events is a great way to build your professional network, and you’ll have the opportunity to get to know the people you are working beside much better in a social setting, whether its off-site at a restaurant or on-site at an informal pizza party. Making time for some face-to-face social networking, will help your stress level and build professional network.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction
Do you have a few people you would like to meet? Influencers and thought leaders in your industry are probably easier to meet than you might imagine – all you have to do is reach out. If you have a colleague in common, ask for an introduction. If you see someone at an event you would like to connect with, don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself. Nobody gets anywhere by being a wallflower.
5. Don’t forget to follow up
What’s the point of making connections if you’re not going to follow up? Make a point of spending some time at the end of the day (or in the morning) going through the business cards you have collected. Put each one in your CRM and send them a brief message to let them know you enjoyed meeting them. First date rules don’t apply here: the less time you put between your first meeting and your first contact the better, if you wait too long they may have already forgotten who you are, and that’s a bit contrary to the point.
My Annapolis Office strengthens your professional network
If you are a small business owner, entrepreneur or startup in the Annapolis area looking for a place to call home, look no further than My Annapolis Office. we offer flexible office solutions, professional office services, meeting room rentals and coworking space for any type of business, helping you keep your overhead low as you grow your company. Call today or drop by for a tour, and let’s start networking!