Not all the good networking is done online, though it`s often easier for many business owners who are a bit on the shy side. If you cringe at the thought of going to a party, then you are probably more likely to try your hand at online networking first. It`s a good idea to get comfortable with the idea of talking to people about your business, though.
Here are a few ways to start networking offline:
- Join a group. There are plenty of small business groups around that meet up once a month or so. Find one in your area and start there. It`s an easy way to network, since everyone is interested in business.
- Talk to friends and family. Another easy way to get started with offline networking is to chat up people you already know. You might be surprised to find that there are connections here that you never expected.
- Chat in line. Waiting at the bank? The grocery checkout? Start talking to the people in front of you or behind you in line. Obviously you don`t want to jump right into an ad, but it`s reasonable to expect the question “what do you do?” to come up and then you can tell them about your busienss.
Having an “elevator speech” or a short two or three line description of what your business offers is a good idea. Keep it polished and short and let people ask more questions if they are interested. You just want to give them the essence in the beginning and pique their curiosity.
Offline networking is a great way to expand your client base and even if you feel more comfortable working online, keep it in mind.