How to Network With Other Local Businesses

networking with local businesses

Could your business use some new friends?

Networking with other local businesses can provide some significant benefits. You can bounce ideas off of one another, get the scoop on what’s working (and what’s not) in your area, and possibly even develop a co-marketing strategy where you could share advertising costs, host joint events and access an entirely new client base.

But these relationships don’t happen overnight. And they won’t happen at all if you don’t work at them.

If you’re looking to expand your business network, here are some of our best tips.

Top Local Business Networking Tips

Connect Online

Some of the best relationships begin online. (Just ask anyone who met their spouse on a dating site.)

Follow local businesses on Facebook. Slide into their DMs on Twitter. Check out their LinkedIn page. (This one is especially enlightening because LinkedIn tends to be more professional than other social media platforms.)

Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself and your business. Spend some time interacting with their content. Get them used to seeing your name in their notifications. Once you’ve established an online rapport, you can bring up the possibility of a more formal networking relationship.

Join Organizations

One of the best ways to connect with business owners is through local organizations. Attend the commerce chamber meeting, join the Rotary club or look for professional associations in your area.

It’s not necessary to limit your network to businesses similar to yours. While that’s helpful from a co-marketing standpoint, you can still learn much from those in other industries. That’s because, as fellow business owners, you have the same challenges.

Attend Conferences and Trade Shows

Conferences and trade shows are a great place to network because you are exposed to a lot of different people who are all there for the same reasons you are. From morning coffee in the hotel lobby to the mixer after the last speaker has spoken, networking opportunities are everywhere at these events.

To make the most of it, have a stack of business cards on hand and a welcoming smile on your face. Don’t wait for people to come to you — put yourself out there and make connections!

Be a Chatty Cathy (or Carl)

Networking events are great, but sometimes connections happen organically, too.

You never know when you’ll meet someone who will be a valuable addition to your circle. The person in line behind you at the grocery store might own a thriving antique store open to a partnership with your restoration business. The parent sitting next to you at your son’s baseball game could be a marketing executive with decades of experience they’d be happy to share.

These are the people you probably won’t find online, at the chamber of commerce meeting or at the business conference. By chatting them up, you’re expanding your network naturally — and natural connections are often the best connections!

Give More Than You Take

A business network needs to be beneficial to everyone involved. If you’re constantly seeking out advice, asking questions or begging for favors, you might find yourself ousted by the group.

A good rule of thumb is to always give more than you take. That could mean offering to write a guest post for a network member’s blog, letting someone in on your magic marketing secret, or just grabbing a cup of coffee and bouncing ideas off of each other for an hour or two.

Who Do You Want in Your Network?

A good business network is a fantastic thing to have in the good times as well as the bad. Being a part of a group that supports each other, faces the same challenges, and shares the same goals can only help you become a better business owner.

Do you need some help fine-tuning your marketing strategy? Mischa Communications is on it! Let’s connect.