Networking. What’s it all about? Well, for starters it’s about building a community of business relationships that are deeper than just transactional advice or kudos. After all, when you are self-employed, your business is quite often your life as the work-from-home solopreneur life has very loosely defined personal and professional boundaries, if any at all. So it’s vital that you know your professional network in a more personal way. What exactly does that look like and how can it benefit your business? That’s what this blog is about. Let’s talk about why building rapport is important in both your business and personal life.
The Internet, but Smaller
Online networking spaces like Linkedin can seem daunting. This is especially true when you first get started. You’re not sure who to connect with and what to say. It can take a little while to get adjusted to networking platforms but once you’re set up there are some cool effects. The first is that what initially seemed daunting is now filled with trustworthy advice, inspiration, and laughs from the same faces and online personalities that you follow every day. This is the outset of a network. When you take the initiative to interact with their content and with them personally, you will start to really build a relationship with fellow professionals who understand your daily grind. Continue that kind of relationship long enough and you’ll find yourself with some new friends who are there for you when you close a huge deal and when you’re in a slump and questioning everything you thought you knew about life or business.
One of the best ways to take advantage of online networking is through a community. There are countless communities out there for all different kinds of industries and for all different levels of seniority and experience. You can find women or men-only communities, as well as online communities that are segmented by location to encourage meet-ups offline. If your regular Linkedin connections are your online network, your online community can feel much more personal. Many online communities go through certain step-based processes together so that their members can grow individually while encouraging each other along the way.
Referrals and New Business
Online communities are also a great way to find new business partners and business deals. This is done by building rapport with like-minded business owners through open and candid conversations. This transpires into strong business relationships which in turn leads to new business partnerships and referrals, both on an outgoing (you refer a client to a community member) and incoming (a community member refers a client to you). The latter of which can be very lucrative as referrals come with a virtually free customer acquisition cost.
If you are feeling stuck in your business, it might be time to seek out new business connections that you can get to know personally. Hiring some outside help to gain a new perspective on your business can also get the gears turning again. Mountain Cane Media offers fractional Director of Operations (DOO) services to help you do just that. Apply today for our DOO services.