New business owners in the world of skilled trades need to network in their industry. Networking is important because it gives you connections with leaders in your field. Networking puts you in touch with mentors, partners, team members, or customers.
Networking is education.
Networking also helps you learn what goes into running a trade business. You need to know what is going on around you. And you should stay informed about important changes and developments in your industry. This makes it easier for you to make good choices as a business owner and manager. When you connect with professionals and skilled tradespersons you learn what’s going on in the world, that might affect your business.
Networking can help you find funding.
If you need cash to get your business off the ground, networking may help you do this. For one thing, it makes your company more visible in your community. This means people and organizations will be more likely to help fund your business through grants and loans. Networking also will help you write a good business plan. And you will need a good business plan when you approach lenders or investors. And of course, when you network you have a chance to meet investors too. If you can’t find an investor, and still need funds, look for grants for small businesses in Canada. To apply for a grant you will need to prepare well and if you have a mentor they may be able to help you.
Here are some tips to help you network in the world of skilled trades.
Find a mentor.
A mentor is a person who is experienced in your field and can help you by giving you advice and introducing you to others. One option for finding a mentor is to ask someone you know. Maybe former instructors, bosses, or managers would be willing to help you as you set out on your own. Another possibility would be to look for a mentoring program for people in your trade. You might even be able to find a mentor online.
Make other connections online too.
Besides finding a mentor online, here are some other ways you can use the internet to find great connections:
- Join an online community like Hard Hat Hunter.
- Join a Facebook group.
- Connect with industry leaders on LinkedIn.
- Follow industry leaders on Twitter or Instagram.
- Recommend other businesses and services.
- Make comments and give feedback.
Join organizations in your community.
Find out what kind of organizations near you are open to business owners in your industry. You may need to fill out a membership form and pay dues. Or you may need to have someone sponsor you. Whatever the case, joining these groups puts you in touch with important leaders near you. Probably these groups will host different events and invite speakers who are influential nationally also.
Attend trade shows.
A trade show is an event where different companies come together to showcase their new products and services. They are not always open to the public. Often you have to be an industry leader or a member of the press to be invited. If you can get an invitation to a trade show, it’s a great chance to see what others are doing in your field. You will also sometimes be able to purchase new and exciting products at special prices. And you will be able to meet talented individuals in your industry. If you have a cool new product or service you want to show off, you might be able to get an invitation to set up at a trade show in Canada, yourself.
Once you begin to connect with other professionals, networking will start to feel simple and easy. It may be difficult to get out of your comfort zone at first but over time it will begin to feel like just another part of your work as a skilled trades business owner.
Article by: Alyssa Strickland