Monday, June 24

Networking Your Way to Success: A Practical Guide for Online Store Owners

Most experts in human resources and scouting agree that networking is the name of the game when it comes to finding a job. 

In this regard, statistics show that networking has an influence on nearly 85% of all job positions whether that is via direct or indirect recommendations.

With so much emphasis and importance placed on personal relationships when it comes to building a successful career, is it possible that a similar principle can be applied to entrepreneurship?

If you believe that networking is also crucial to building a successful online business, the following article shares five ways in which you can develop a robust network of allies to push things to the next level.

#1 – Join a community of online entrepreneurs

Online communities are a great place to start when it comes to building a network as people can connect easily through the web. In this regard, video conferencing software, live chat rooms, and forums are some of the most common tools employed to connect with others who share a similar interest.

The Beprofit community is a great example of this. For the purpose of building a database of collective wisdom, this company has created a place in which online entrepreneurs can ask questions about e-commerce related topics. 

These posts are viewed by fellow entrepreneurs and will be responded to by someone who has already found a solution to that particular problem.

#2 – Attend trade shows and other industry events

Even though the pandemic temporarily disrupted all public events, many of the most important events in the e-commerce industry have already set a date for 2022.

These events are a great place to meet fellow business owners, suppliers, and even potential investors and they are a must for every serious online entrepreneur.

Some of the most well-known events in this particular industry include the NRF Retail’s BIG Show, Digital Travel Summit, Adobe Summit, CommerceNext, and MRC Vegas. Make sure you sign up for at least two or more of these events every year so you remain up-to-date with what’s going on in this ever-evolving industry while meeting some great people at the same time.

#3 – Connect with other fellow entrepreneurs through social media

More than 700 million people have registered on LinkedIn and around 40% of its users access this social media platform daily. 

That stat alone should prompt business owners to participate more actively in this environment to meet and engage with fellow online business owners, potential employees, and even investors.

There are many ways to find people who share a similar interest. First of all, you could join a private group comprised of your peers or you can opt to contact potential partners (employees, suppliers, investors, and even clients) via direct messaging.

Keep in mind that your goal is not necessarily to sell or pitch something right away. Instead, you should focus on developing a relationship with these people, the rest will come in due time. 

#4 – Pitch your business to the new people you meet

Casual encounters might be another good chance to build a network, especially if you frequent people in the business world.

Whether you find yourself at a dinner party, a wedding, or a baby shower, if you happen to find someone who shares your interest in developing an online business or that somehow fits in your particular space, do your best to start a conversation.

You probably don’t want to adopt a seller’s attitude since, after all, this is a social event. However, why waste the opportunity if it is presenting itself so easily?

#5 – Participate in grants and join business competitions

Putting the name of your business out there can attract the attention of people you may have never reached unless you take that step.

Grants, startup incubators, pitch competitions, and other similar events that are primarily designed for startups are a great place to get to know like-minded folks that can help you in taking your business to the next level.

Don’t focus on winning, although that would not be a bad thing. However, the contribution of these events to your effort of building a network is the most positive aspect of participating.

Bottom line

Are you ready to network your way to success? The pandemic may have temporarily changed the way people interact but face-to-face meetings will always dominate the business world – or at least that is what the statistics indicate.

Put yourself out there, get to know as many people as you can, and sooner rather than later opportunities will start flowing your way.

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