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Is networking always valuable?

Your business is more than the products and services you provide; it is the association that people have with your brand. You build your brand both in how you provide for your clients and in the confidence other providers have in your services.

Networking can be a valuable tool to develop your brand and your presence in the community. The more you work with others in related markets, the more you will have opportunities to represent your business to future clients and customers.

As you seek to extend your network, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Know your brand

Part of networking is understanding what you represent. You may know your product and its benefits for your potential clients, but you should also think about the associations you want people to have with your brand.

Some of the most successful products have built their reputation around certain feelings associated with their brand. These feelings can come from your marketing materials as well as what people see your business doing in the community.

As you build your network, consider how the people you are talking to can help you create the reputation you want with your clients and customers.

Maximize your time investment

At first, you may be tempted to “network” with anyone available. Initially, this may be beneficial, but as your network expands, you may need to be more selective about your time networking.

While you are building your network, look for people who are in fields related to your business. If there is a product or service that is complementary to what you provide, see out those who are established in those areas.

When you talk to people in related industries, make sure you talk about how your companies can benefit each other. When another business owner knows there is mutual benefit, they may be more likely to help you build your brand.

As you build your network, it is essential to be intentional about whom you talk to. Building a strong network that is consistent with your branding will help you develop your market.

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