Networking is common for brick and mortar businesses and for corporations, but what about your online small business? Being connected to those who can help your business grow is an amazingly underused strategy. But before you network online make sure you’re not getting caught in these mindset traps.
1: Don’t expect anything when networking online.
In order to effectively network online, consider what you can do for others, not what they can do for you.
Networking gets confused with lead generation. These are both concrete strategies to build your business but they are not they same. Lead generation focuses on getting ideal clients in by offering them something in exchange for their time, or starting a relationship with the person. Networking is looking out for what is mutually beneficial for both parties.
Going into a networking situation expecting something from someone ensures that you will not really connect. When we look at someone online and send messages with the thought in our head that they will be a client of ours it comes off pretty aggressive. In 2020 and beyond B2B has become a lot about relationship marketing. Treating people like the unique people that they are. Because of this cold messaging has gotten a really bad rap sheet.
This also adds a lot of pressure on yourself to make the relationship one that could turn into a client situation. Investing in someone to help your B2B business has a lot of factors to it. Personality, money, time, and just pure luck. If someone decides that you are not the right person for them, that is not your fault. It’s nothing to become hung up on, it just wasn’t the perfect combination of the right time or the right place.
Everyone has skills that can help each other, regardless of what journey of their business they are in. You might just be surprised what you find. This brings me to my next point.
2: Let go of comparisons.
This one can feel a bit harder to let go. This is a mindset shift that takes a bit of time. It’s the mindset shift away from thinking vanity metrics are important and that the amount of money your business is profiting deems your personal worth.
Whew, okay this is a lot to unpack here.
First, vanity metrics don’t matter. You might be thinking “Well, of course not Angeline, duh.” Okay but have you ever gone to someones Instagram account, or Tik Tok and said “Wow, they have 10,000 followers, they must have a lot of knowledge.” Or some other positive attribute contributing to the fact that they have a massive online following?
I’ll say it again, vanity metrics do not matter. On the flip side, when someone does not have a lot of followers this also doesn’t mean that they are new to the business world. Social media marketing is one strategy for growing a business, but it’s not the only. I’ve known plenty of six figure business owners that rarely use their social medias and have under 500 followers.
The same goes for being overly impressed when someone is making a lot of money in their business. I think we’ve all been here; starting off our business fresh and new, then we see a post about how someone had a multiple five figure launch. Our doe eyes filled up with tears of determination thinking, I too can make that amount of money.
Hold up, this blanket statement of someone making money had nothing to do with HOW they got there.
How many hours they spent growing their marketing, how long they spent gaining their expertise, or how much profit they actually took home after profit. It can be easy to see what someone else has and think that they are more successful than us, and that they have some sort of secret. But they do not, and they are not better than you as a person. Income does not contribute to personal worth.
So don’t be afraid to reach out to entrepreneurs who are seemingly more ahead than you. Those entrepreneurs who boast that they make 6 figures, start a conversation. They’re just as human as you. And that account that has 1 post and 2 followers? Start a conversation with them as well without attaching a target to their back. I promise you they’ll appreciate the shit out of being treated like a human being and you just might learn something out of the relationship.
Implementing strategy of starting to network online is a fantastic way to get referrals for your business. No one business can do it all. Finding those relationships to refer to you when they are unable to complete it themselves can be extremely lucrative.
Want to use this strategy to network online in conjunction with a few others? Check out my post on two easy strategies to grow your email list here.
Then conduct a product suite audit for your online business (click Here) to make sure your products and services are the ones you’re the most excited about and will be the most profitable.