As a home business entrepreneur, you know that you need to network. You know networking will help you get to know people, build relationships, and even build your reputation as an expert if you know what you’re doing. To be successful with networking it is important to avoid these eight common mistakes.
1. Not Having a Goal
- You should create a goal for general networking but also for each networking channel, be it online or offline. Before any event, write down the goal you want to achieve. For example, you want to connect with at least three new people, so that you know when you leave if you’ve been successful or not.
2. Not Being You
- Many people think that because they have a home based business, they need to exaggerate and make themselves look bigger and better than they are. But the truth is, you simply need to be your authentic self because it is you that makes your business and offerings special.
3. Not Listening More Than You Talk
- Practice mindful listening. Repeat back to others what you heard, mirror their thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. They’ll actually remember you more when you show genuine interest.
4. Hanging Out with Competitors
- While you do want to get to know your competitors, you will make more sales by networking with the people who need what you offer. Commiserating with colleagues is useful, but it won’t increase your client base.
5. Not Pushing Your Boundaries
- Going to events can be intimidating, but it’s important to push your boundaries if you want to grow your business. You can start slow with online events, and then move gradually into offline events.
6. Acting like a Wallflower
- Don’t go to an event and stand in a corner all alone. Mingle and get to know people. A good method to help you accomplish this is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event. Handing out name tags, programs or helping out at registration requires you to speak to people directly.
7. Being the Last One Standing
- At any in-person event, you want to make your exit before the last minute. Being the last one at an event can be a sign of desperation. Instead, leave people wanting more.
8. Having No Energy
- When you speak to people, project your voice, smile and show some likable energy about you. You want people to feel good when you talk to them.
Common networking mistakes that home business owners make can be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and planning. You can be very successful with networking as a home business owner. Today, most people don’t have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.