How To Network during Periods of Instability

Despite the reopenings across the country, many places have still yet to return to normal, pre-pandemic schedules. Several offices continue to allow employees to work entirely from home, or only require minimal in-office workdays, usually just one or two. Meanwhile, small business owners also continue to experience disruptions in their operations, due to a labor shortage, shortage of materials and supplies, and other abnormalities. Plus, several professional associations are not holding annual meetings, or have greatly altered, meaning mostly reduced, their events and in-person get-togethers. All of these unusual occurrences have likewise lead to fewer opportunities to network, but this form of relationship-building still remains essential.

The Importance of Networking Consistently

Even during normal times, regular networking is important for career professionals and entrepreneurs alike. It provides them with the opportunity to meet new people and gain a new perspective. Networking also helps them discover other types of opportunities, including career advancement, product innovations, and possible future alternative routes. Networking has always been essential to small business owners because it costs little to nothing and helps them create brand awareness.
Small business owners use networking as a means to form relationships with others, in like or related fields, that help to expand their business’s ability to find new customers, partner, and grow. A key element to effective networking is to make you known. The premise being that the more people you meet, the more people there will be to get to know and remember both you and your business. You should use every professional and social opportunity to meet and connect with new people.–Olympia Benefits
Networking also offers a few other benefits, such as improving social skills, being exposed to new environments, and forming new relationships, both professional and personal. In other words, networking isn’t just about selling products and services, it also is a prime environment for self-enrichment. Too few people see these qualities and only network purely for the sales aspect. Regardless, this relationship-building activity still remains extremely important, even though there are many abnormalities that persist, even well after the pandemic reopenings.

How To Continue to Network during Unstable Times

There have been periods in the past that have completely disrupted the entire business and economic landscape. Perhaps the most recent and largest in modern history began in earnest in 2008, continuing for several years and what is now referred to as the Great Recession. Although this was mostly related to the housing sector, its effects reached practically every corner of commerce in one way or another. Both business owners and consumers had to adapt, with people leaving long careers to go in entirely different fields of work. Similarly, business owners changed their models in order to survive and return when economic circumstances permitted. During this time, networking became very important not only to sell products and services but to find new opportunities. Here are a few helpful suggestions for networking during such times of upheaval:
  • Change your mindset. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome isn’t in external factors but is entirely internalized. That is to say, it’s very difficult to not only identify but change one’s mindset. Your attitude and outlook will have much to do with this and it’s critical to understand how your approaching the world as so many people’s lives and other businesses are still in a state of disruption.
  • Be flexible with your schedule. Your old way of networking might still be partly or mostly intact. If so, that’s very good news and you won’t have to make many adjustments. However, if very little has returned to normal or is still in a state of flux, you’ll need to be flexible in order to find the time and places to network. This is also a great opportunity to think outside the box and identifies places where you did not network before.
  • Temper your normal sales approach. Since things are not completely back to normal for everyone, it’s best to pull back on the sales talk. Instead, make it more about building new relationships, whether they are professional or personal. This might not be of big benefit now but could prove very advantageous in the future.
What other strategies can be used to network during unusual economic times? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit from your input! Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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