Cultivating Meaningful Connections: A Blueprint for Business Success


Whether you own your own business, manage a team, or are attempting to make a name for yourself in sales, there is nothing more powerful than having the right business connections. The adage ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is more true in the business world than in any other part of life.

When you develop a powerful network, there is no level of success you won’t be able to achieve. Here is “how to build connections in business” so you can successfully reach your professional goals.

Join a Networking Group

A networking group made up of people in different industries is the perfect way to meet other professionals, talk about your business, and learn from others who have built successful businesses. Most networking groups meet weekly or bi-weekly, giving you plenty of opportunities to get to know other members and create connections that last.

Go to Industry Events

Mingling with other businesspeople in the same industry is a valuable way to gain knowledge, get your name known, and foster relationships with your peers. If you’re in marketing, you can join the American Marketing Association or a local group of marketers.

Launching a start-up tech company? Go to events where others talk about their experience starting a new business and stay afterward to chat with like-minded entrepreneurs.

Get Involved in Community Service

Joining a service organization like Rotary or Kiwanis is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it’s also the perfect way to create and deepen connections with others. Many service organizations are made up of professionals who are already established in their fields, making them ideal mentors.

You cannot only learn from these individuals while you’re working side by side in the community, but you can also develop partnerships, get referrals, or be introduced to your ideal customers through their powerful connections.

Always Focus on Giving Value

Whether you’re developing connections in a networking, industry, or service group, you need to focus on giving value to those you meet rather than asking them for business or referrals. This will help you establish a reputation as a valuable person to know and will help you develop a solid base on which to build your relationships.

Give value by connecting others with those they want to meet, educating them on your field of expertise, and asking questions to get to know them better so you can be a resource if they need assistance.

Have a Follow-Up Plan

Many connections are lost because one or both of the individuals involved did not follow up. Avoid this mistake by having a plan to follow up with those you want to build relationships with.

If you’re in a group that meets on a regular basis, you have a follow-up already built in, but you can take it to the next level by scheduling regular one-on-ones with the members.

If you’ve met someone, you want to connect with who is not in one of your regular groups, invite them out for coffee or lunch, and always make sure to follow through if you’ve offered to introduce them to someone or provide value in another way.

Networking 101

Basic networking fundamentals do not have to be difficult. Find groups you feel comfortable in, make sure you give value instead of expecting anything from others and always find a way to follow through on your promises. If you’d like to learn more about becoming successful in the world of business, schedule an info session with the Golisano Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship.