Networking is especially important for small business owners.

3 tips for small business networking

In the business world, who you know is just as important, if not more so, than what you know. Despite this, a lot of people struggle to network effectively, and as a result can miss out on exclusive business development opportunities.

Does this sound like you? Read on to discover three networking top tips.

Plan your approach

The saying 'less is more' certainly holds true for networking. While it may seem tempting to attend as many events as you can, it makes more sense to set up a plan and connect with those who matter most.

Find out who the key players in your industry are, which conferences they attend and how to best get in touch. There is such a thing as over-networking, but by working out who the best people to talk to are, you can easily avoid this. 

Remember: quality, not quantity.

Follow up with your connections

Once you have connected with the key players in your field, it is important to make sure you follow up with them after you first meet. Talking to someone once at a function is not effective networking – some sort of sustained communication is needed to get the most out of the relationship.

With professional social media networks like LinkedIn, it's easy to maintain these connections and stay in contact. Adding someone on social media or contacting them in another manner a few days after the first meeting is a great way to jog their memory, and remind them of your connection.

It's not all about sales

When faced with a room full or your peers it will be tempting to talk shop. However, don't underestimate the value of purely social engagements with fellow business owners. 

Getting to know someone on a personal level can still facilitate future business, and the hard sell is not always the most effective method.