Advertising
Advertising

7 Useful Tools To Expand Your Business Network

7 Useful Tools To Expand Your Business Network

Ah yes, the ever-important expansion of your business network question. How do you do it? What are the best ways to network with potential partners, collaborators, and associates these days?

In a constantly evolving world, it’s incredibly important to know how to make connections using the newest and most helpful technology.

If, for instance, this networking conundrum was proposed in the 1990s, the best answer would probably be things like phone calls, business functions, and business cards. Today, these things are terrible for actually making new business connections. No, instead we must turn to our online resource, the internet.

Here are 7 online tools that help expand your business network. Use them wisely.

1. LinkedIn

rsz_linkedin

    A lot of people still aren’t familiar with LinkedIn and how it works. But then again, these are the people who aren’t making the right business connections. With over 300 million users, LinkedIn is no longer that little-fish social network. It has become the go-to social networking site for all business professionals and is currently the biggest business fish in the social sea!

    Advertising

    The best way to network with people on LinkedIn is to connect with them, endorse a few things that you know they are good at, and then reach out to them in some small way. Do not pitch them on something, but rather, just message them with a compliment or something similar about something they’ve done that you’ve enjoyed. After building up a bit of a rapport with someone, over a period of time, then you can start to inquire about things and perhaps try working with them.

    2. Twitter

    rsz_twitter

      Twitter is a personal favorite of mine for connecting with business associates. It’s great because everyone from Richard Branson, to Mitt Romney, to Tim Ferriss is on there. Just about every celebrity, politician, entrepreneur, athlete, or anyone else you could think of is on Twitter. So, in theory, no one is impossible to connect with.

      The average-Joe business man up the street can connect with somebody like Richard Branson on Twitter by using some clever Twitter tactics and saying the right things.

      For instance, if you want to connect with someone (maybe someone a little easier to reach than Branson), the best way to do it is to Follow them, and then start Favoriting and Retweeting their posts. By doing this, over a period of time, you will get their attention. You can then start commenting on their posts, and voila! The next thing you know they’re commenting back and you’ve built up a relationship with someone who can help you out! You can either private message them at this point (if they’ve Followed you back by now), or just ask them in a post thread if you could connect with them beyond Twitter. That’s it!

      3. Podcasting

      Advertising

      rsz_podcasting

        One of the best tools for making connections is creating a podcast. Why podcasting, when we live in a video, in-your-face, visual world you ask? Because radio still rules! People love hearing podcasts and the podcasting industry is growing more and more each year.

        By having a podcast and interviewing people, you can invite all sorts of guests to come on your show. Everyone loves being interviewed and thought of as being special, so many people will typically accept your invitation. By creating a podcast show, you can connect with people in the business-world who would otherwise pass on an invitation to collaborate.

        4. Guest Posting

        rsz_guest_posting

          Similar to Podcasting, Guest Posting is such a great way to connect with others. It’s the one, tried-and-true way for bloggers to join forces with one another online.

          Reach out to some of your favorite websites and blogs, and ask them if they’d like to exchange articles with you. You could write them an article that fits their site’s criteria, and they could write an article that fits your site’s criteria, and in turn, you both win! By offering up your service, in the form of a blog post, you are giving them a great incentive to want to work with you and connect.

          5. Facebook

          Advertising

          rsz_facebook

            Although not as good as LinkedIn or Twitter for connecting with business associates, Facebook still holds a solid place on this list. Especially if you connect with someone’s personal page. Business pages are no good for connecting with. Oftentimes, these pages have way too many followers or people for the person running it (the person you’d like to connect with) to keep track of. A message to a fan page is a message lost.

            Instead, if you can Friend Request someone on their personal page, and you can actually get them to Accept, you are figuratively “In.” Don’t private message them right away, but just like LinkedIn and Twitter, Like some of their posts, Comment, Share, and build up a rapport for a while, and then message them. The message has a far greater chance of being returned if you take your time before sending it!

            6. Email

            rsz_zoho_mail

              Email is the universal form of contact in today’s world. Almost everyone has an email address. And if someone puts their email address on their website, then you should take that a sign that that they are open to connecting with you. Now, don’t take that to mean you should Spam them with absurd requests. Don’t do that . . . ever!

              No, instead, send a thoughtful, well-planned, and respectful email with your inquiry. Tell them why you are reaching out to them, why they could benefit by working with you, and what you would like them to do if possible. That’s it. Keep it short, respectful, and sweet!

              7. Let’s Lunch

              Advertising

              rsz_lets_lunch

                This is a really cool app that sets up lunch dates with potential business contacts. It connects with your LinkedIn profile and easily integrates your schedule with the people you’d like to bond with and sets up a scheduled time to meet face-to-face.

                This face-to-face meeting of course is the hands-down best way to really build a relationship with someone, although these days it’s becoming ever-more-difficult to do so. With a helpful little app like Let’s Lunch, however, the old-fashioned way of creating a relationship is being renewed.

                Use these 7 tools right now and start building your business network today. Who knows, you’re next connection could change your life!

                Featured photo credit: Handshake – 2 men via flickr.com

                More by this author

                Justin Stenstrom

                Nationally-Acclaimed Life Coach

                10 Reasons You Should Date A Geek 8 Things That Happen When I Put Down My Phone 11 Signs You're In A Mature Relationship 11 Signs You’re In A Mature Relationship 4 Reasons Why You Should Not Look Through Your Partner’s Phone 7 Useful Tools To Expand Your Business Network

                Trending in Productivity

                1 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done 2 50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success 3 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 4 15 Inspiring Journal Ideas to Set You up for Success 5 11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising
                Advertising

                Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

                You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

                Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

                A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

                Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

                So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

                1. Purge Your Office

                De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

                Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

                Advertising

                Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

                2. Gather and Redistribute

                Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

                3. Establish Work “Zones”

                Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

                Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

                4. Close Proximity

                Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

                5. Get a Good Labeler

                Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

                6. Revise Your Filing System

                As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

                Advertising

                What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

                Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

                • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
                • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
                • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
                • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
                • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
                • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
                • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

                Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

                7. Clear off Your Desk

                Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

                If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

                8. Organize your Desktop

                Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

                Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

                Advertising

                Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

                9. Organize Your Drawers

                Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

                Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

                10. Separate Inboxes

                If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

                11. Clear Your Piles

                Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

                Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

                12. Sort Mails

                Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

                Advertising

                13. Assign Discard Dates

                You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

                Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

                14. Filter Your Emails

                Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

                When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

                Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

                15. Straighten Your Desk

                At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

                Bottom Line

                Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

                Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

                More Organizing Hacks

                Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

                Read Next