In today’s world, networking online levels the playing field for many small businesses and nonprofits. Businesses can network and compete with anyone around the world. Whether finding new clients, raising money, or recruiting volunteers; you can network globally to get reliable solutions for your company.
Research suggests that networking helps businesses stay ahead of the curve by exposing them to thought leadership, best practices, upcoming trends, and insight into how other small businesses or nonprofits may be approaching similar issues. Building connections with people in the community you serve and with people who care about your mission will build more trust. These connections will lead to more possibilities, including major gifts and individual donations for nonprofits.
As a business or nonprofit leader, networking outside of your circle of friends or cultural norms may be uncomfortable at first but will likely improve over time as you continue to put yourself out there to gain more connections and network. Regardless of the cultural differences, improving your listening skills, remaining poised and confident, and sticking to your truths will always help. Forbes Nonprofit Council suggests networking sets the expectation that everyone gets out of their insular social and professional circles to build connections with colleagues and peers with whom they would not otherwise have come into contact.
Get to know your network – make the most out of your connections by finding out what they are looking for and how you align with them. Networking opens a host of opportunities; including partnerships, new ventures, cross-promotions, investments, and more.
Things to keep in mind when networking;
- Involvement – By telling your story and involving others, you are making them business partners in your company, not just spectators. This raises awareness and encourages continued support.
- Goal-setting – By setting achievable goals in the business, you can strive toward those goals with others. Seeing the ribbon at the finish line fuels motivation.
- Communication – Regular communication involves talking and listening. When the lines of communication are open and clear, trust evolves, and relationships thrive.
- Review – Ongoing review and transparent feedback from KPIs or community outcomes enables others to reevaluate and readjust, when necessary, to get involved, offer help or give financial support.
When we provide small businesses and nonprofits with the tools to build fruitful relationships; we empower them to achieve their goals and garner desired results.
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