Read our top tips to help your business make the most of networking opportunities.

Building a bank of relevant and active connections is vital for businesses of all sizes, whether it’s relationships with current clients or prospective clients, competitors or key stakeholders in your industry. As a small business owner, building and nurturing these relationships will help your business to grow and succeed. They can provide more leads, increase your client base and help you gain more knowledge and expertise in your business area. Whether you’re comfortable with networking or not, remember it could be a vital ingredient to your business success.

Business networking events come in all shapes and sizes; some are weekly, monthly, or less often. Some are free, whereas others require a monthly or annual membership fee and some just require a one-off payment for each event you attend. The key is to find the events that are right for you and your business. To help you along the way, we’ve prepared several top tips to help your business make the most of networking opportunities.

Here are some top tips for extending your network:

Be active with your local business organisations. Your local Chamber of Commerce will offer a range of networking events as well as advice opportunities. These are invaluable organisations for making yourself known to your local community, as well as meeting local suppliers and prospective clients

Harness the power of technology. Technology has enabled businesses of all shapes and sizes to extend their network. Sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are free and easy to use and can help your business connect with new contacts, influencers and clients. They can also help you pinpoint the right networking events to attend

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Before you attend a networking event consider what you would like to achieve. Do your research about who will be attending and work the room – you never know where your next business lead will come from. Also remember to take your business cards with you and connect with people on social media as soon as you can after the event with a friendly email

Quality over quantity. Make sure you and your team are making the most of their time by going to the right events that will help your business grow

Have fun! Remember to enjoy yourself when you attend any networking events. They are a great place to connect and relax with fellow business owners who will be facing similar challenges and opportunities as you.

If you’re looking for further business advice, our team of helpful loan officers are always on hand to help, so do not hesitate to contact us

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