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Going Paperless: Embrace Networking, not Business Cards

How much do you budget to attend networking conferences? Or how many conferences do you attend per year? And how do you select which seminar...

How much do you budget to attend networking conferences? Or how many conferences do you attend per year?

And how do you select which seminars to attend? If you are not allocating money for conferences, you must begin now. Why?

By @Comic24Derick

Because connections do not come cheap, you need to invest in networking for you to meet the right people at the right platforms.

Before you get to the venue, know what you want to achieve and the right channels to get there and fulfill those dreams.

Contributing to the Business Know How, April Maguire mentioned that serious entrepreneurs must-attend business networking events.

“The first step in successful networking is knowing where you should go to make connections,” said Maguire.

“While almost any activity or event can serve as a networking opportunity, small business owners and professionals with local businesses should attend local business events,” the article continued.
“The first step in successful networking is knowing where you should go to make connections.” (Image: 

A business network entails creating symbiotic relationships that will benefit both parties, including existing and potential customers.

There must be consistent interaction with other professionals working in the same field as you. Embrace their success. Know what they bring to you and how they have helped to shape their past and future.

In the article, Maguire added that “For example, your city’s chamber of commerce might host gatherings for people in your industry. Additionally, it’s worth hitting up meetings for professional associations and societies related to your field.”

Remember, not everyone is your customer or will become your prospect. When you are targeting prospects, you must have a clear formula, according to Vikram Rajan, vice president of CoGrow Systems, Inc., in an article that was featured by the Entrepreneur magazine.

“To find good prospects, don’t just hand out business cards randomly,” said Rajan. “The best way to make contacts is to spend a few minutes with a limited number of people and then follow up.”

Find professionals and business owners who are glad to refer you to other people who can become your customers. If you have something unique to offer, you will get access to the right people at the right time.

So go on, interact with the important people and find the common ground between you and the people you are networking with.

The Entrepreneur magazine added that: “One way to meet them is through accountants and attorneys,” notes Mike Moradi, founder and former president of NanoSource Technologies Inc. in Norman, Okla. “Many such professionals are happy to provide referrals because it helps them retain clients,” he says.

Every business needs to be part of organizations that are relevant to the industry it operates in. establish strong relationships with people and organizations that are beneficial to your business.

“Join organizations,” recommends Emily Kate Pope. “Your time is limited, but participating in an industry-specific organization, small business associations, or your local chamber of commerce can be beneficial for your business.”

Understand the costs that will be incurred by your business. Know the benefits of joining a certain group. Research on how many people are in the group, before you join them and how they will add value to you and the group in general if there is any.

Organizations are created to shape certain values and virtues. When you choose which organization to lean with, read about their vision and aspirations.

In the article for Fundera, Emily Kate Pope continued: “Be sure to consider your goals, customer needs, and what you want to gain from the membership when selecting an organization to join. 

“You also want to consider how many active members are in the group, how many events are hosted each year, and (if applicable) the cost of the annual dues.”

Other ways to establish and maintain your contacts, as recommended by CHRON’s Nicky LaMarco are to, “Start a website for your network marketing business. You can do this through your network marketing company. Most of them will give you a good website that is similar to the main company website.”

Despite the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, virtual conferences are being held around the globe. Most of these are open to entrepreneurs around the world, so distance is not a barrier. 

But most importantly, have information of which conferences you are attending and the value they will add to you if you are to attend.

“Regional and National Conferences. TED events. SXSW. CES. There’s no shortage of conferences and industry trade shows you could attend,” wrote Casey Kelly-Barton for the Host Gator.

Adding that, “Before you invest in conference admission and travel expenses, research your options to make sure you’ll have the opportunity to make connections in line with your goals.”

Before you attend, you must research the different speakers and conference attendants who can add value to your organization.

“Conferences also have email lists, social media channels, and webinars you can sign up for to find people to connect with throughout the year.”

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