Plan Your Networking Strategy

If you haven’t already made networking a regular part of your business strategy, you could be missing out on business-enhancing opportunities and the chance to partner with other industry professionals. As a time-strapped business owner, it is difficult to take the time and effort to network. Determining which networking events to attend and which to skip can be tricky; but, planning your networking activities and devoting a certain amount of time to them could help you expand your business relationships and put your business on the path to success. Having a strong networking plan can help you save time and energy when it comes to this must-do business task.

As a Women’s Business Enterprise, Levy Recognition never misses an opportunity to network with other business owners who are part of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This year, we will be attending the WBENC National Convention & Business Fair in Orlando, Florida. With our networking plan in place, we hope to make connections and create new business opportunities.

Before attending any networking event, figure out what other businesses might be profitable contacts for your business in the future. Often times, business owners attend networking events with the idea that everyone in the room could be important to future business growth. This is typically why business professionals find themselves attending every networking event they are invited to. The result: a stack of business cards and no new business generated.

In order to get the most from a networking event, business owners need to know what type of connections they want to make. It helps to review your client list, discover what other industries are relevant to your business and decide if these are the type of people who will be in attendance at the networking event you plan to take part of.

For us here at Levy, we love meeting and collaborating with businesses seeking to recognize their employees for all their hard work. Our custom-designed corporate awards give businesses the tools they need to celebrate their company’s accomplishments and highlight individual employee success. If your business is looking for new, exciting ways to recognize employees, we want to network with you!

Once you have generated a list of who you would like to network with, it’s time to research organizations that host events for those industry professionals. For example, many business owners are seeking opportunities to partner with more diverse suppliers. They attend networking events and conferences put on by organizations promoting supplier diversity.

During the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair, Levy plans to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with women-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies that are industry leaders in healthcare, travel and logistics, energy, retail, transportation, telecommunications, finance, banking, office supplies and consumer-packaged goods, as well as federal, state and local government agencies. We’ll forge new relationships and generate promising business leads during the three-day conference event.

If you are trying to meet small business owners, find out what networking events are being hosted by local business associations and chambers of commerce. These smaller events are a great way to practice networking and meet business owners in your area. Looking to meet representatives from larger corporations? We suggest joining a national business association, like WBENC. National organizations help foster national and international commerce, promote innovation and enhance business partnerships that fuel the economy.

When it comes to networking, the most successful business professionals know exactly what they hope to achieve from a networking event. They know and understand who their potential connections are and only attend events that bring similar business professionals together. By having a networking plan, Levy Recognition is able to save time, work more proactively and create strong leads for future business success.

This is part of our Networking Series. Our other tips include:
# 1 Plan Your Networking Strategy
#2 Making a Positive First Impression
#3 Business Card Etiquette
#4 Tricks to the Tradeshow Booth
#5 Following Up After Your Networking Event

Making a Positive First Impression