A professional network is a way of interacting with people in a professional context which gives you the opportunity to help build your business and meet like-minded individuals.
Building a strong professional network is highly necessary for a successful business. This is because you’ll need industry-specific information and you need to be open to opportunities to build your brand.
It’s important to figure out who you already know, the kind of people you need to know and how they’ll help you forward your career and an entrepreneur.
During our Level 3 Practical Entrepreneurship course, you’ll learn some essential skills on how to build contacts in order to further develop your career as an entrepreneur. It’s therefore important to be able to relate to people and communicate effectively.
How to Create a Professional Network
Attend Industry Events, Exhibitions and Trade Shows
Depending on your industry, experience, interests and field of work, there may be exhibitions, trade shows and events that you can attend in order to build your professional network.
Carry business cards and introduce yourself to other entrepreneurs so that you can learn from them. Make yourself indispensible when it comes to finding potential sales leads and business partners.
Sharpen your Communication Skills
A bit of small talk can often go a very long way. You’ll slowly gain confidence in developing a rapport with a wide range of people. Eventually, you’ll be able to effectively communicate and network and receive opportunities.
Building a network requires you to be able to relate with other people and show respect in order for a valuable networking exchange to happen. Being respectful helps to build stronger relationships.
Having a positive attitude is very important when it comes to networking as it has a strong influence on every aspect of your life. It also affects how people respond to you. A negative attitude can be an instant turn-off and it instantly creates a barrier.
Building a Professional Network Using Social Media
Social media has become an increasingly effective tool for building a professional network. It can encourage feedback and build a relationship with customers and industry peers.
In particular, LinkedIn is the most popular for professionals. It offers you the chance to connect with professionals from your industry and participate in forum discussions.
LinkedIn is important in building a business and a brand. It’s also important to keep interacting with members in your network regularly and to keep your network up-to-date.
Also, a lot of entrepreneurs have used social media to establish their careers and build up a professional network that way. In particular, many people have built a professional network by blogging and creating YouTube videos from the comfort of their own homes.
For example, young entrepreneur Jamal Edwards achieved success by creating an online youth media platform called SBTV via YouTube and gained contacts within the entertainment industry to build his brand.
With the ever-growing popularity of many social media platforms, blogs and ecommerce websites, which makes the entry into entrepreneurship a lot more accessible. It allows anyone to turn their passion into a lucrative business.
From video game commentaries, beauty tutorials, fashion tips to travel diaries, they use YouTube to share their passions and interests with the rest of the world, there’s lots of networking opportunities with big brands. Therefore, this’ll help them build their brands.
A lot of ‘YouTubers’ and bloggers have become well-known public figures and have become very successful entrepreneurs, branching out into TV, film, cosmetics and even the publishing industry.
What would be your top tips for building a professional network? Please let us know below…