Every SMB owner knows that networking is the backbone of business. Meeting industry professionals who can add value to a small business keeps things fresh and moving forward. The best part of networking in the 2019 landscape? The majority of it can be done online, for a faster and more efficient experience. Experts from all over the globe have opened themselves up to be contactable online, giving you loads of opportunity to meet the perfect people to help you and your business excel.  

That said, there’s a method to the madness when it comes to online networking. Besides proper etiquette, you do need to throw a bit of strategy into your social media socialising. Here are five ways you can help grow your online professional network:


1. Consider who you’re networking with.


Say you want to connect with the CEO of an enterprise in your field. It may not be the most tactful move to reach out directly to her or him. First, as a company lead, they’re likely swamped and inundated with messages from folks just like yourself. Second, having someone vouching for you never hurts. If you reach out to anyone in a position lower, and make a great impression, you’ll be able to send a message to the person you want to connect with and be in the good graces of the people around them. Great reviews lead to great interactions.


2. Do your research first.


Though it may seem obvious, it’s incredibly important that you do a bit of digging on a person you’d like to network with. Including some details that stood out to you about them when you send a message or email is essential in catching their attention. But at the same time, a good balance is key. Including extremely personal details can be detrimental, and downright creepy. Instead, dig in the places they’ve offered up information, like LinkedIn or Facebook, and leave the information you found on Google out of your initial impression.


3. Get active on LinkedIn.


Out of all the spaces for professional networking, LinkedIn is arguably reigns supreme. It was built for that purpose specifically and offers plenty of opportunities to connect with people in similar fields. The best way to show you mean business? Be active on the platform. Leave insightful comments on posts, create your own posts and respond to commenters and join Groups to open yourself up to professionals working in your industry.


4. Keep in touch with the network you’ve worked hard to build.


Once you’ve started to accumulate social followers and connections, keep in touch with them. Don’t let them forget about you – or your SMB. It’s also a good idea to try to meet up with online connections face-to-face if you ever find yourself in their area. It shows you’re interested in knowing them personally, which really, will never become obsolete.


At YES Victoria, it’s our mission to provide you and your business with the tools to build meaningful relationships, grow, and create a long-lasting rapport in the community, online and off. Get in touch with us for more details on how we can help you expand your network.

At YES Victoria, we love a good business mixer as much as the next entrepreneur. Having hosted many successful networking events over the last decade, we know that building your professional network is about more than hobnobbing with business owners over cocktail hour. Useful networking should generate results — allowing entrepreneurs to build strong, valuable connections that translate to stronger business prospects. But how?

There’s no reason a networking mixer shouldn’t be fun, but it’s easy to get caught up in the social aspect and lose sight of your true purpose for attending. Handing out an awesome business card is an excellent way to stay on track. It’s the quickest way to leaving a lasting impression with everyone you meet. But here’s the catch — not just any business card will do.

Whether you’re a startup creating its first set of business cards, or a thriving SMB looking to freshen things up, here are a few essential tips for crafting the ultimate business card. 

Keep Your Business Card Concise

Tempting as it may be to include every morsel of detail about your company, the best business cards are short and sweet. Stick to the basics in such a way that is both interesting and to the point. Overloading a pocket-sized business card can make you appear sloppy and unprofessional — plus, it’s just plain overwhelming to read.

White space is your friend. Share only the important details, add some basic design elements, if relevant to your business, and you’re set! Bear in mind that a concise business card is effective because it’s easy to read, understand, and remember. Think of it like an elevator pitch on paper — your goal is to pique interest, not to bear all. 


Print With the Professionals 

If you’re a relatively new startup or small business, we understand that your marketing budget and resources may be somewhat limited. Don’t worry; creating an effective business card doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, even with only a small investment, you can design and print your new business cards with a professional. 

Unless you have your own commercial printing capabilities, try to avoid doing DIY business cards. The truth is, they tend to cheapen your brand and give off the wrong impression to your clients and prospects. Instead, try reaching out to a local print shop, or leverage the affordability of online print and design companies like VistaPrint or Moo Print Ltd. Most printing shops offer bulk discounts and small business deals, too. 


Follow Design Trends Carefully

If you’re new to the world of graphic design, building your first business card may leave you feeling like a kid in a candy store. Between all the different shapes, sizes and cardstock finishes to choose from, you might lean toward the more flashy, on-trend designs.


Don’t get us wrong, there’s certainly room here for some creative freedom. That said, stay mindful of your audience. Only choose graphic elements that are relevant to your business.

Experiment With Functionality 

If innovation is a driving force or philosophy at your company, consider experimenting with a business card that serves a dual purpose. Get creative with the design so that you’re both sharing your business details and providing clients with a useful tool. For example, you might print a business card onto a magnet or design a card that folds into a phone stand. That way, you stand out more and decrease the chances of your card ending up in the recycling bin. 


Review Your Content for Errors

Sounds obvious, right? Judging by the number of typos and design cut-offs circulating on even the most professionally produced business cards, we could all use a reminder. Editing your content and reviewing your business card mockups at every stage in the game is critical. It may seem like a time sink, putting in the extra effort of revision. In the long run, though, triple checking everything before it goes to print will save you time, money, and resources. 

Ultimately, your business card should be a simple, memorable reflection of who you are and what your company is about. Follow these essential tips on creating an effective business card, and we’re confident you’ll be a big hit at your next business mixer!

Plan on putting these tips to good use? Be sure to bring along your new business cards to our next networking event — we can’t wait to see what you come up with!