How to Leverage Your Network to Build a Thriving Business During a Pandemic – From a Distance, of Course

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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At a time marked by a lack of in-person connection, the power of networking has never been more critical. Despite social distancing provisions and the total shutdown of large in-person events and gatherings, entrepreneurs continued to find support, comradery and friendship through their networks. And as the impacts of the pandemic continue, it’s evident that leveraging networks will remain a top priority. But how can this be done tactfully, given the current global limitations? 

One perceived benefit of socially distanced times has been ease of access to others around the world. With no other way to communicate or continue to build a network, entrepreneurs were quick to create, sustain and support their global communities through social media, virtual events and new products specifically designed for forging online connections. Entrepreneurs know just how critical a robust network can be for building a thriving business. Although reopenings will continue, these tips on connecting with your network from a distance will be helpful for moving forward. 

Related: How Are Virtual Events Facilitating Community Building and Networking?

1. Join online groups 

There’s no shortage of online group opportunities for connection, learning and sharing. Facebook groups host entrepreneurs of similar backgrounds and industries and networking groups host virtual events with speakers, happy hours and workshops. These online groups are a must-use resource for expanding your network, as many of them allow participants to ask for help and offer some assistance of their own. The more of these groups you can have a hand in, the better — but make sure to be engaged. This way, you build that recognition amongst the group, so when the time comes when you need to leverage the network, people know who you are. 

For example, many entrepreneurship online groups work as support hubs. Spend some time answering other entrepreneurs’ questions or offering to get on brief phone calls as you can. Build a name for yourself virtually by inserting yourself into the conversation. You don’t always need those in-person interactions to make yourself memorable.

2. Offer help and assistance

One of the best ways to forge a relationship with key stakeholders or other founders is to see where you can help. This can always be done virtually. Think about it this way: If you were to receive a direct message or an email from someone offering to help you in a way you’ve been looking for, you would certainly take the phone call. In fact, leading from a place of service is one of the only ways to stand out from the online noise. Pay close attention to what other participants share in online events and networking groups, and see how you can help. Or ask around to offer your expertise or connections in your specific area. 

An example of how this helped one business thrive was with B.ZAAR Collective. As an online marketplace for Southeast Asian designs, founder Monica Recto knew that she needed designers to source the products. “Presence is everything

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Read the original here:
How to Leverage Your Network to Build a Thriving Business During a Pandemic – From a Distance, of Course

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