As a home business owner, you know how important it is to build a network. You know networking helps you meet and get to know people. In short, you build relationships, and even more, you build your reputation as an expert, if you know what you’re doing. To be successful with networking, be aware to avoid these common mistakes.
1. Not Having a Goal – You should create a goal for your general networking activities, but also to build specific networking channels, be it online or offline. Before any event, write down the goal you want to achieve. As an example, let’s say you want to connect with at least three new people. Before you leave the event, know that you achieved that goal.
2. Not Being You – Many people think that because they have a home business, they need to exaggerate, and make themselves look bigger and better than they are. But the truth is, you simply need to be yourself, because you are the business.
3. Not Listening More Than You Talk – You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, therefore practice mindful listening. Repeat back to others what you understood, mirror their thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. They will appreciate you, and remember you.
4. Hanging Out with Your Competitors – While you do want to get to know your competitors, you will make more sales by networking with the people who need what you have. Commiserating with colleagues is useful, but it won’t increase your sales.
5. Not Pushing Your Boundaries – Going to events can be scary, but it is important to push your boundaries, if you want to grow your business. Step out of your comfort zone. You can start slow with online events, and then move slowly into offline events.
6. Acting like a Wallflower – Don’t go to an event and stand in a corner all alone. Mingle, and get to know people. One trick to help you accomplish this, is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event, handing out name tags, or something else that requires you to speak to people.
7. Being the Last One Standing – At any in-person event, you want to make your exit before the last minute. Being the last one at an event can be a sign of desperation. Instead, leave people wanting more.
8. Having No Energy – When you speak to people, project your voice, but do not yell, and show some likeable energy about you. Present an aura of confidence. You want people to feel good when you talk to them.
Common networking mistakes that home business owners make can be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and planning. You can be very successful with networking as a home business owner. Most people today do not have a hang up working with someone who has a home office. Go into any situation with confidence, and remember, do not exaggerate, and when you make a promise to do something, follow through. Happy Networking!