Building a successful business network
Content supplied by Barclays
Making your business a success is more about who you know, not what you know.
Amanda Christie, co-founder and MD of dating website mysinglefriend.com, shares her tips on how to schmooze your way to the top.
You can learn a great deal from your competitors...
... as well as your suppliers, buyers and retailers. It's really important to maintain these contacts when your business is in full swing too, to help you stay abreast of new trends and keep your company on people's radar.
Entering awards keep your profile up
Putting yourself and your company up for awards is also a great way of building contacts - I sat next to the Mayor of London at one award ceremony and we ended up doing business together.
Create a buzz around you
If there's a buzz surrounding the launch of your company, other industry players will flock to see what all the fuss is about. The website linkedin.com is a great resource for connecting with other experts in the field, as are women's networking groups, business fairs and conferences - even if you're not in the same industry, you'll always find common ground.
Look closer to home, too. Your cousin who's great with computers, your mate's brother the accountant, your pal in PR... friends are the most valuable network there is.
Fake it till you make it
Don't think about networking as networking. Just strike up conversation as you would with anyone. It doesn't even have to be about business – a standard opener like, "Are you based locally?" will lead on to all sorts. If you're not naturally chatty, it's simply a case of faking it until you make it. If you're friendly and approachable, people will make a positive association with you and your business.
Head to Barclays on Mumsnet for lots more:
- Expert information on starting your own business
- Family budgeting and saving tips
- Money-saving videos and inspiring start-up videos
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