For creative entrepreneurs, building an active network of peers, vendors, and clients can be the difference between a growing or stagnate business. But building and nurturing a network takes time, care, and effort and many entrepreneurs are seriously time-strapped. Even though they are short on time, many of the creative professionals we work with say if they were given extra time they would spend it networking. Below are our 3 favorite tips for systematically building and nurturing your professional network.
1. Remember Names: There is nothing worse than meeting a great new contact and then immediately forgetting their name. Luckily Business Insider made a list of tricks called What to do if you forget someone’s name. We found these tips to be a lifesaver!
2. Review and Renew your Contacts: Not all contacts are created equal and the contacts who require the most energy are not always the best to keep in your network. We recommend doing a bi-annual sweep of your contacts. Reducing your preferred partner list to the most valuable, will save you time and energy when looking for the right professional partner for your next big event.
3. Reserve Time for Coffee Chats: With a busy schedule, sometimes the last thing you want to do is take time to reach out or respond to new contacts and networks, but these can lead to invaluable resources in the future. We heard from an event planner who schedules time every Tuesday afternoon for networking. By keeping that time reserved on her calendar, she never felt like it was keeping her from something else.
Building your network takes time, especially if you are new to your industry or location but careful cultivation and consideration can help you tap into the right resources you need to grow your business.