I’ve never been a confident “networker”. Having worked for large entrepreneurial companies who traded mainly International I was typically spared the ordeal. Entering a room full of people I didn’t know, who asked questions they weren’t really that interested about, in the vain hope I might take a business card and possibly, just perhaps be someone who might buy something. Not my cup of tea.
However as time has marched on. When I decided to start my own business in 2006 I was fortunate to see growth that meant I needed to start expanding the staffing. We were still dealing 100% online with customers from outside the area and Vicky Atkinson, partner at Riley & Co accountants impressed upon me that networking was not just for gaining business, but also creating a visibility that would reduce recruitment costs when the time came to hire new staff. That advice probably saved me £10,000’s over the coming years.
Calderdale has a thriving networking scene, too many to mention in such a short article and I’d heartily recommend you try one of them. For those that prefer online though there is LinkedIn.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a seminar by Calderdale firm Value Exchange in Leeds and thought I’d share my top 5 takeaways.
1: Decide in advance what you want to achieve. Is it leads, referrals or just up to date research?
2: Full complete your profile for maximum visibility and tailor it to your goals
3: If you are in sales. Change your privacy settings so you don’t automatically broadcast your new connections. Your competition is watching
4: Use an appropriate photo for your bio.
5. The more you put in, the more you get out.
Have you used LinkedIn? Are you a professional Networking attendee? Post your comment below!
Have a great weekend!
Lee Kenny is Managing Director at Halifax-based Snowflake Media