As with many things in the business world, building a network is the most difficult in the beginning. If your small business is new, you really have to work at meeting new people. It can also take up a lot of time and of all those you meet with, you will only make a real connection with a small portion of those people. So how can you make all this time worth your efforts?

Initially, because it’s necessary, your early efforts should be more quantity based until you make some more promising connections. Once you do link up with some beneficial people, you can ask them to introduce you to other people they think you should know. But how can you do this? One way is to intensely seek out the right type of people through LinkedIn or other networks, find someone you know who is connected to them, and have them introduce you. However, you can also build trust in your “networking partner” to introduce you to the right people on their own. While you have to go to a lot of events in the beginning, you will get to a point where your network does the relationship building for you.

Another important thing to note is to give to others during these interactions as much as you want to get out of it—that’s what will make the networking work. They will remember you and the information you offered them and in turn offer you helpful information in the near future. Offer to meet for lunch, discuss your marketing strategies, or set up a call to introduce them to your business. This leaves a bigger impact that simply tossing your business card at them as you walk away.

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