How To Network Effectively To Grow Your Small Business

waynekimmel

Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Wayne Kimmel. Wayne is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, tireless networker, and the author of Six Degrees of Wayne Kimmel. For more information, visit: waynekimmel.com.

SmallBizLady: WHAT DO YOU DO EVERY DAY TO SUPPORT YOUR COMMITMENT TO NETWORKING?

W.Kimmel: Every morning after I get dressed, I fill up my right pocket with business cards while leaving my left pocket empty. My goal is to empty my right pocket of my cards, while filling up my left pocket with cards from those I’d introduced myself to. I want to make as many contacts each day as I am able to. I use my business card as an icebreaker to introduce myself to people and a way to ask them for their business card.

SmallBizLady: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN AN ENTREPRENEUR?

W.Kimmel: I invest in smart and nice entrepreneurs who are trying to change the world.

SmallBizLady: WHAT DO YOU DO FIRST IF YOU WANT TO NETWORK?

W.Kimmel: Get off the couch! You’ve got to go there and do it. As you all know, you will not make a basket, unless you take a shot. So you need to do the same thing when it comes to networking. You need to go out into the real world and go meet people.

SmallBizLady: WHAT’S REQUIRED TO NETWORK?

W.Kimmel: Business cards are required.  – Business cards are the best icebreaker. They allow you to introduce yourself to another person when you give them your card and say “here’s my card” and immediately you can ask them to give you their business card. You also need to dress the part…make sure that you are dressed appropriately. Figure out what the “dress code” is for that event. For example, wear a suit if that is the dress code or jeans may be appropriate…

SmallBizLady: WHAT DO YOU SAY IN A NETWORKING SITUATION?

W.Kimmel:  

  1. Hi my name is ________.
  2. Here’s my business card.
  3. Can I please have your card.
  4. Then say, “Thank you.”

SmallBizLady: WHAT’S THE GOAL OF NETWORKING?

W.Kimmel: Get a business card. Then take that contact and develop it into a relationship by sending them a thank you note for giving you their card and also saying “hope we can find ways to help one another in the future.”  You can then try to connect with that person on social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

SmallBizLady: HOW DO YOU MEET THE PEOPLE THAT WILL BECOME YOUR MOST TRUSTED AND INFLUENTIAL RELATIONSHIPS?

W.Kimmel: You have to go out and find them. You never know who they’re going to be, so you have to cast as wide a net as possible. You must go where they are and what do I mean by that? If someone you want to meet is receiving an award, go to the event and introduce yourself to them and congratulate them. Then you can follow up with that person and work to develop a relationship with that person.

SmallBizLady: HOW DO YOU TURN CONTACTS INTO RELATIONSHIPS?

W.Kimmel: By unconditionally helping others. If you are in the business of building relationships, just keep doing things for others and eventually your time will come.

I love birthdays, they are a great way to check into all the people in your network. You may learn things about your contacts that could allow you to develop a real relationship with them. You may learn that your contact is now the CEO of a major corporation or that your contact just got married or had a baby, etc.

SmallBizLady: WHAT IS NETWORKING PERSISTENCE?

W.Kimmel: There will be nights when you would rather hangout with your family or friends instead of going to a networking, political or charity event. Go anyway. You never know who you will meet. This is a long game. Building relationships through networking is like a marathon, not a sprint.

SmallBizLady: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MYTH ABOUT TOP TECH COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, FACEBOOK AND LINKEDIN?

W.Kimmel: That they were created by tech geniuses sitting around in their pajamas writing code in their bedrooms or in a garage. The dirty secret is that the success of these companies really came from collaboration, making contacts and developing relationships.

SmallBizLady: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

W.Kimmel: I tell

all the CEOs and execs at all of my companies that, if you tweet or post something on social media at 9 am and someone’s in a meeting and doesn’t check their twitter feed until the end of the day, they’re never going to see your post. Don’t be afraid to post it again at noon or five o’clock or before you go to bed.

SmallBizLady: DO YOU HAVE ANY NAME TAGS TIPS?

W.Kimmel: I love name tags. They allow you to walk around and, without saying anything, promote yourself. The name tag lets others know who you are—which is precisely why you go to networking events in the first place. You should always wear your name tag on the right side of your shirt or jacket. When you shake another person’s hand with your right hand, his or her eyes will see your name tag while making eye contact with you.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

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