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When it comes to running a small business, networking is key. You need to build relationships with other businesses, influencers, and customers in order to create a solid foundation for your company. But networking can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure where to start. 

That’s why we’ve put together this list of small business networking tips. Let’s break down a few ways to start networking within your community, as well as a few tips on how to network effectively.

small businesses networking around a table and shaking hands

1. Join a Business Networking Group 

One of the best ways to network with other small business owners is by joining a business networking group. These groups provide a great opportunity to meet new people and build relationships with other entrepreneurs in your area. Plus, most business networking groups offer educational resources and advice from experienced professionals. 

2. Attend Industry Events 

Another great way to network is by attending industry events. This is a great opportunity to meet potential customers and build relationships with other businesses in your field. These events typically have speakers who are experts in their field, so it’s also a great way to learn about new trends and developments in your industry.

3. Get involved in Your Local Chamber of Commerce 

The Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for small businesses. By getting involved with your local Chamber of Commerce, you’ll have access to valuable resources, as well as opportunities to network with other businesses in your area.

4. Participate in Online Communities 

If you can’t find any business networking groups or events in your area, don’t worry! There are plenty of online communities that you can participate in instead. The important thing is that you choose a community that’s relevant to your industry or interests. That way, you’ll be able to connect with like-minded people and build relationships that can help you grow your business. A few good places to start are LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, and Reddit Communities. 

5. Host Your Own Event 

Hosting your own local small business event is an excellent way to promote your business and build relationships with other professionals in your field. Plus, it shows that you’re an expert in your field and that you’re serious about growing your business. If you’re not sure where to start, try hosting a lunch-and-learn event or an after-work happy hour at a nearby bar or restaurant.  

6. Make It A Habit

Once you start meeting new people and making connections, it’s important to follow up and stay in touch. Sending a quick email or connecting on social media is a great way to keep the lines of communication open. And don’t forget to reciprocate! If someone takes the time to introduce you to their contacts, do the same for them. 

7. Do Your Research 

Before you attend any networking event, take some time to research the other attendees. See if you have any common connections, read up on their businesses, and familiarize yourself with their work. This will give you a leg up when it comes to making conversation and leaving a lasting impression.

8. Prepare For Networking

When you attend a small business networking event, have your elevator pitch ready to go and be sure to dress the part. First impressions count, so make sure you look and feel your best. All it takes is one meeting with the right person to change the course of your business, so it’s important that you put your best foot forward from the very beginning.

9. Create A Follow-Up Plan

After every networking event, be sure to follow up with the contacts you made. Send them a quick email or connect with them on social media. If you promised to send them additional information, be sure to do so in a timely manner. Staying top of mind will increase the likelihood that they’ll think of you next time they need someone like YOU!

Keep Reading: 17 networking tips for business professionals

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