Developing your own Northern Ireland business network could be a key part of the success of your business. Over the years a good network gets stronger, adding value to your business.
Your network will be unique to you, and some of the best contacts you will make may not come from formal events. You should try to build your own web of contacts from the people you meet at work every day. Opportunities to make contacts can arise from social setting such as sports clubs, local evening classes, community centres, and at parties.
Successful network building
Aim to establish a good relationship with everyone useful you meet. To get the best from your new contacts you should:
- file notes and business cards after each meeting
- follow up each contact by phone or email
- remind your contact which business you are from and tell them you found it a pleasure meeting them
- maintain regular contact and update them about changes to your business
- keep up to speed with their business developments
- agree a way forward, for example, setting up a face-to-face meeting
As well as the contacts you make in person, you can start online networking. This enables you to share knowledge and establish contacts with people in Northern Ireland and all over the world. Some online networking sites will request a short profile of your business for inclusion.
LinkedIn is a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs, reach your audience and network – see LinkedIn for business.
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