11 Jun 2021 - 4 minutes to read
Networking with other businesses, suppliers, or industry professionals can help launch or grow your own business. Here is our guide on how to network for business development and the four key elements you should know about business networking:
1. What is business networking?
2. How to network with a purpose
3. How to use social skills for networking
4. How to pitch your ideas
“Networking” has a number of definitions, however, “business networking” is defined as specifically establishing relationships with businesses and professionals which will mutually benefit the two parties, whether that is with potential new clients or what each can offer the other.
Developing these business relationships can create long-lasting partnerships and the opportunity to expand your business. Some of our start-ups have had the opportunity to network with substantial companies for campaigns and projects, such as Lumen SEO partnering with Google, Configur Codex working with Amazon, and Wolfberry working alongside the cyber-security innovation hub at Cardiff University. To develop these relationships you should be competent at the following skills.
There are five types of business networking: strong contact networks, casual contact networks, online networks, community service clubs and professional associations. Utilising these different types of business networking can aid in expanding your business relationships and growing existing ones. However, it is essential to network with purpose, a superficial meeting with a potential business partner can produce less than optimal results.
Business networking can be overwhelming, but our online event ‘Networking with a Purpose’ will inform you on: how to build a meaningful network with the Chairman of the Scottish Business Network, Russel Dalgleish; how to fully utilise Welsh Diaspora to expand your network with the Head of Community & Operations at GlobalWelsh, Zara May; and finally how to network globally with the Founder and CEO of Alpacr, Dan Swygart.
Social skills are one of the top ten skills you should have while business networking and developing your business relationships. Being able to communicate effectively is very important while networking as you will be able to engage the potential business relationship while also getting to know them and finding new opportunities.
While socially networking, you should ask questions, remember names (both of people and businesses) and ask about, offer, and be open to opportunities and people.
Communication skills are very important while networking. We are offering a ‘Social Skills for Networking’ digital event being run by Sarah Owen and Em Melrose from DISCsimple. During this event you will learn how to identify your preferred communication style, be able to identify the preferred style of others, and finally learn how to adapt your style to improve your relationship building.
Lastly, opportunities to promote yourself and your business could present themselves at any moment. Therefore, you should always have a concise yet captivating pitch to convince any potential business relationships. Being able to pitch will help gain opportunities to network, we have helped clients network with the likes of the Angel Investment Network, Cardiff Council, FinTech, Coadec, and many more.
“Early stage companies and entrepreneurs may only get a few minutes to convince a customer or investor of their business potential. Learning how to open that conversation and engage audiences, so that they can see your passion and engage with it; is a critical skill. At Tramshed we spend a lot of time working with first-time founders to nurture these skills”. - Cai Gwinnutt of Tramshed Tech.
This skill will largely benefit from your ability to use your social skills for networking, communication and public speaking are an essential part of being able to pitch as you need to be able to market yourself and your business in an exciting way that convinces your audience (potential business relationship) that developing the relationship will be beneficial.
To help you learn how to pitch we are running an online workshop ‘Life’s a Pitch’ by the Natwest Business Builder team, where you will learn what makes ‘good content’ when presenting a business case in a short space of time, how to structure a pitch for consistent impact and recall, and key delivery attributes that allow you to feel comfortable and confident when presenting.
We are Tramshed Tech: a startup ecosystem home to 50+ companies ranging from pre-revenue start-ups to scaling businesses with 600+ registered members from the digital, creative and tech communities. We’re currently based in Grangetown, Cardiff Central & Newport, as well as Barry and Swansea.
Written by Lois Ferns, for Tramshed Tech.