The process of growing your professional network is always ongoing. As with most ways you can grow your business, it’s not a simple task that yields instant results every time you act on it, but a routine that must become a part of your work days and shows better results after a long time of commitment.
The main goal of growing your professional network is usually to get more jobs, but it has other great benefits. You can form alliances with fellow contractors in your area, create partnerships, and build long-lasting professional relationships – all of which are good for your business even beyond just getting more jobs.
Work hard and advertise
Ted Turner is famous for this one-liner when asked what’s the secret to success:
“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”
The last part of this sentence is what matters most to us. When it comes to nurturing a professional network, you have to set humility aside and advertise your hard work. Keep in mind that advertising isn’t the same as bragging. You only want people to recognize your hard work because this will eventually open up opportunities.
Besides, from a business perspective, it only makes sense. If you’re working like hell, the least you could ask for is some recognition.
And how to advertise your work? Telling other people about it as gracefully as possible, either in person or via social media. Show that you work hard and that you’re proud of your accomplishments – and you will attract people that want to work with you.
Joining a local industry association can be highly beneficial to your professional network. It’s essentially a sort of meeting grounds for local pros in your area where healthy mutual relationships can begin.
For a more local approach, consider your chamber of commerce. You will be granted easy access to fellow contractors to build relationships, trade notes and grow together. It’s easy to get caught being individualist while working towards success, but you can go much further much faster if you give and accept help.
Social media and online presence
This ties well into the “work hard and advertise” motto. Keeping your social media pages updated is a big part of showing your work in a way both clients and other contractors can quickly know what you’re up to.
But improving your online presence is also about being found. Make sure your contact information is easy to find and that you reply to messages and comments when people engage with your posts. The more approachable you are, the more people will be encouraged to get in touch.
Participating in any sort of social gathering right now is still very ill advised because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean your networking efforts need to stop. Online seminars are a great way to meet and engage with other pros in your area, as well as learning things you might not already know.
Better yet, if no seminars are in sight, you can create your own – so long as you’re confident organizing and curating the content. If you’re particularly knowledgeable in one area such as marketing, networking or public speaking, you can teach others while getting to know them.
A seminar is the perfect way to attract a lot of people looking for opportunities to network and kickstart things from there.
Give something back
Networking isn’t all about taking – you should also give something back. Just as you’re reaching out to other contractors looking for opportunities, you will meet people looking to connect with you and it’s important to stay open for those interactions.
The more like-minded people you meet, the better your network will be and the more everyone will help each other out. Staying motivated during the pandemic is already hard enough, so give back to your community whenever possible!
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