COVID-19 has turned everyone’s lives upside down. America has lost over 20 million jobs, and the unemployment rate is at an all time high of 14.7%, a level not seen since the Great Depression. People are losing jobs and businesses are taking a toll, and we need to find a way to get these businesses back on their feet.
Networking can not only help you land a job, but it can also help grow your business. Business networking is the process of establishing and building mutually beneficial relationships between other business people and future clients. But how are you supposed to make connections and practice social distancing?
Networking doesn’t have to be at a coffee shop or during happy hour, but instead it can happen behind a computer screen. Networking is not just having a single conversation with a stranger, but keeping the conversation going. It is important to build these relationships so that when life is uncertain, you will have connections to get you back on your feet.
LinkedIn Will Be Your Best Friend
LinkedIn isn’t just for people looking for jobs. For business owners, LinkedIn can also be used to generate clients. Through this platform, you can post status updates, join groups and advertise your brand. LinkedIn has a messaging feature that allows you to send private messages to people inside and outside your networking bubble.
Just like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn allows you to make connections with business people you know or want to get to know. Your connections open the doors to mutual connections that might just help you gain new customers, or at least point you in the right direction and introduce you to someone who can help your business in the long run.
Before You Press Send
When you message someone, drop the usual greeting, and make it more personal. We have all gotten the email, “Hope you are doing well in these uncertain times.” We get it. Being amidst a global pandemic is not a normal thing, and nobody is really doing well. Letting people know that you understand what they are going through goes a long way.
Remember, you are trying to build relationships, and relationships are two-way streets. Pre-pandemic, you would ask them to get a cup of coffee, but a Zoom meeting or phone call will suffice.
Rekindle Dormant Relationships
It is time to get off your high horse and tell your ex-best friend from high school that you are sorry. This might be hard, but you never know what door this might open in your career.
People do business with people they know, which is why reaching out to people from your past is so important. Connect with your friends from high school and college, your parents' friends and even your neighbors. Whether your connections are old or new, having a large network will come in handy when looking for new clients.
The connections you make will build relationships with like-minded people who can give you advice on ways to improve your business. Surrounding yourself with successful people who will have a positive influence over your career.
Networking is More Than a Business Card
Networking allows business people to expand their business and improve their professional lives. Building a networking community will help you when your life gets turned upside down. Your network is there to pick you up and get you back onto your feet. We are all human, and want to help others reach their full potential, and you never know you can connect with and where that connection will take you!