Dixon Networking Associates
DNA is a business networking organization in the town of Dixon, CA. We offer members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, business referrals.
Contact a local DNA Member to see for yourself why DNA has brought businesses together.
Find out why you should join here.
The Opportunity in Networking
Expanding your network is the best way to find fresh opportunities
Networking with other professionals is a powerful tool and an integral part of building a business. There are some people are natural networkers, although most of us find ourselves avoiding networking events simply because we don’t know how to take advantage of them.
It’s not as hard as you my make it out to be. And it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for you. Here are a few ideas which you can use to help get your networking started.
First, what is networking?
The Collins dictionary describes a network as an interconnected group or system. So networking is the process of using a network or interconnected group to your advantage.
Why do you need to network?
In a nutshell, networking gives you the opportunity to learn about other businesses and meet new contacts, and increase your exposure. At any networking event, you are presented with many opportunities to tap into a wealth of information and experience in one room. One of the greatest assets of networking is that you never know what treasure is around the corner.
Getting involved with a networking organizations like DNA will open up more opportunities. You may need to find time to get involved, but the rewards you will receive will out weigh any time lost. Be prepared to be a guest speaker or a sponsor, since this will greatly increase your exposure for you and your business.
10 Steps on how to network your Small Business
This may be the hardest part of the process. If you follow these tips, they will make it easier:
- One of the most important items you can take to a networking event is your business cards. Be sure you have enough business cards to hand out and also make sure you swap cards.
- You are meeting new contacts, so it is important that you leave a good first impression. Remember to look professional and dress accordingly.
- It is always good if you have a plan when you attend an event. Set out your goals for the event. Are you looking to build your contacts in general or are you after a certain type of contact? Try and reach your goals early at the event and then you can mingle and increase your exposure.
- If you have difficulty starting a conversation, pick a couple of current news topics you can use.
- You can always bring a colleague or another business associate if you are nervous about turning up to an event on your own. Networking events can also be a great place to take a new business contact.
- When you first get there take a look around the room and look for opportunities to enter conversations.
- Also remember to manage your time and try to get in more than one conversation. The room is full of ideas and opportunities, so use your time wisely. It’s a good rule to allow 15 minutes per contact.
- Everyone at these events is there to network, so remember the person you are speaking to is also after knowledge and contacts. A good practice is to think about what you can provide them. Even though you might not get an immediate return from this, there might be a new potential in the future for a returned favor.
- Be open to any and all opportunities, you just never know where the conversation might lead.
- And finally, set up future meetings at these events. Remember, it’s much harder for people to reject you face-to-face.
What should you do with the contacts
Now, what do you do with all those business cards? The first step is that you need to categorize them. You can either enter them into a database, which can be set up in Excel or Access. In your database you should include information about your contact, where you met the contact and any special interests or insights you might have gained during your conversation with them.
Be sure that you make sure that all your ideas are written down in your database and that actions are documented straight away. Networking is a mentally and physically draining activity, so your notes will ensure the benefits are not lost.
Reaping the benefits of your hard work
With a few simple techniques and tools, the process of networking will become second nature and a great experience from which you can learn and grow. Staying organized and taking notes will help you recognize opportunities and gain the most from them. Reach out and help others and in the process you and your business will benefit.