What is trade in business terms
This is how you make the best use of cooperations and networks
The idea of the lonely lone fighter is no longer up-to-date in the business sector. Instead, what counts today are strong partnerships, collaborations, connections and networks when it comes to the sustainable success of companies. You can find out here how to create, maintain and expand durable and meaningful connections and what advantages are associated with them.
Cooperations keep your business going
There are basically two ways in which you can position yourself as an entrepreneur and shop owner. On the one hand, it is possible to run your company all by yourself, quasi as a lone warrior, and to isolate yourself from the outside world to a large extent. On the other hand, there is the possibility of viewing yourself as part of a larger business network and trying to keep your own business model going through connections, partnerships and cooperation.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether you would rather be active alone or be one of the networkers. At this point, however, we would like to sharpen your awareness that it can be very beneficial for your business results if you are active within an active business network.
There are very different things that such a network can do for you. First of all, in a larger group of business people, it is always very easy to find the external expert or service provider who can actively support you with a specific task that is currently pending. In addition, if you have any questions or problems, you can always turn to a number of partners who are in a similar situation to you and who can support you with advice and action.
And last but not least, it is possible to establish unique collaborations on the basis of active business contacts. This involves intensive cooperation with other entrepreneurs, in which the mutual benefits are in the foreground and who often have the potential to open up completely new business dimensions.
A business network takes a lot of work
Of course, you cannot effortlessly get a well-functioning and active business network. If you do not take any action in this regard, then under no circumstances will a circle of interesting contacts form by itself. So you have to do something yourself. The effort to establish and maintain business contacts is known today as networking.
We will soon see that the Internet and digital media play an important role in this area too and have made a lot of things easier. You no longer have to leave your office to make business contacts. However, with all technological advances, you should keep in mind that there are certain situations in which nothing is better than face-to-face contact.
Your profile in the business networks
At this point, let's briefly ask ourselves how contacts are established and, above all, maintained today. In this context, social networks play a decisive role in the private sphere. Those who value being in an active exchange with old and new acquaintances and friends at all times will probably spend a larger part of their free time on platforms such as Facebook.
It's not much different in the business world. Here, too, networking is increasingly taking place on the Internet. However, the focus here is not on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Co., but instead special business platforms that we will get to know a little better in a moment.
There are two networks that you should particularly memorize at this point. This is on the one hand Xing and on the other hand LinkedIn. Both platforms are similar to each other and serve a comparable purpose. It can be seen that many business people are active in both networks, because you can never know exactly where you will find suitable contacts.
Get to know both platforms first
As a first step, familiarize yourself with the two platforms and see how they work and what features and possibilities they offer. You will quickly find out at the beginning that it is also about exchanging information, for example on Facebook. However, there is also a crucial function. You should be given the opportunity to discover and establish specific contacts in a very targeted manner.
The platforms offer you interesting search functions for this purpose. You have the option of using a whole range of criteria to search for precisely those partners who are of interest to you at the moment. In some cases, sophisticated search functions are only available in the paid versions of the platforms. On the one hand, the costs are kept within limits and, on the other hand, you have the chance to test the chargeable features first.
In any case, it is important that you work with a well-planned and carefully designed profile right from the start. This profile should not be based on personal information about you, but rather as a convincing and interesting presentation of yourself and your company. We will provide you with further information on this in the next section.
|„I'm always looking for a head that's worth 10,000 workers to me.”|
The most important thing in professional networking is continuity
Your profiles in the well-known business networks form the basis of your future networking. Here you describe to potential business partners who you are dealing with. You also determine which competencies and skills you can offer as an entrepreneur and which resources you are looking for or need against them. As an online retailer, for example, you could offer other entrepreneurs access to your shop customers or access to your knowledge of online marketing.
On the other hand, you might be looking for suppliers with exciting products from certain areas and external service providers in the areas of programming, graphics, photography or text. Of course, these are only intended to give examples by means of which we want to clarify what you can potentially do in the business networks.
Your profile is a kind of business card
If you now start actively looking around for interesting contacts, then the profile you have created is more or less your business card. If, for example, you have found an interesting person through a certain search process, then it makes sense to write to them briefly within the network. The recipient of your message will of course see your profile and, based on the information stored there, can now decide whether he is interested in getting in contact with you or not.
At this point at the latest you will see that the profile plays a very important role. For example, if you seem uninteresting or even dubious, then a lot of contacts on your part will lead nowhere. However, your message to the potential contact also matters. This should be as specific as possible and already contain an indication of what could connect the two of you in terms of business.
In this way, you are carefully making initial contacts. From this point on, continuity and reliability are the most important factors. If you receive a request or a message, you should respond to it as quickly as possible. Be available to potential business partners when they confront you with a question or concern.
And make sure that you are not forgotten in your contacts. The best way to do this is to send a small message regularly. You will soon find out that networking is all about staying power. Not every contact immediately leads to an interesting business option. However, if you have a lot of contacts, then this will always result in exciting opportunities that will have a very positive effect on your business.
Polish up your professional networking with these tips
Business contacts can be viewed as very valuable capital in many professional areas. They provide the basis for interesting partnerships and collaborations, ensure the supply of important resources and give you the opportunity to exchange experiences or talk about difficult situations, crises and business problems at any time.
It is therefore extremely important for every entrepreneur to build up a network of reliable business contacts that is as widespread and stable as possible and to maintain this network carefully. The following tips will support you significantly in this important task and show you how you can operate networking particularly effectively and successfully.
Your contacts as valuable capital
As an entrepreneur, always keep one thing in mind: Your business contacts represent the secret capital of your company and cannot really be replaced by anything. As a lone fighter you have to get by in many situations without qualified support. The networker takes action in the event of problems or crises simply returns to the expert advice of his business contacts, finds the right cooperation partner straight away and always finds an open ear when it comes to a qualified exchange of experience with other entrepreneurs.
However, establishing and maintaining contacts takes a lot of time and requires a high degree of regularity and continuity if networking is to be successful. As an entrepreneur, you have to plan this firmly and ensure that the necessary resources are available. Networking without intensive commitment and with little time does not lead to success in most cases. It is therefore important to internalize the importance of business contacts and to set the necessary priorities.
Presence in important business networks
The establishment and maintenance of business contacts in the business area takes place today in most cases via the Internet. Here it is primarily the two important platforms Xing and LinkedIn, which play a prominent role because almost all business people who are interested in contacts are active in at least one of the two networks. Build up your own profiles on both platforms at an early stage and pay attention a couple of important rules. In contrast to the privately used social networks, it is less about your private personality.
This may play a role within certain limits, but should never obscure the business-relevant information. Provide a brief overview of what you actually master professionally. Make sure Your strengths and areas of competence and state clearly what business contacts you can accomplish. Also list resources that are of interest to you, so that potential business partners can get in touch with you.
Networking: always give and take
Anyone who assumes that business contacts and active networking will only achieve benefits for themselves without having to do anything has not yet fully understood the basic principle of maintaining business contacts. This is clearly always based on reciprocity. It is crucial that you are ready to use your expertise and skills to the benefit of others. If you are clearly not able or unwilling to actively support your business contacts to the best of your ability, then in case of doubt you will not be given any support.
Therefore, when it comes to networking, always try to take into account that it is a possible one equal give and take acts from which all those involved must benefit equally. Avoid giving the impression that you are always demanding and expecting. Conversely, of course, you do not need to maintain any contacts yourself that after a certain period of time feel exploited and that are not willing to do anything for you.
Your professional friendships reveal a lot
If you have been actively involved in networking for some time, a gradually growing circle of business contacts will emerge. This circle reveals a lot about yourself. In this context, note that most business networks are based on the effect that potential contacts can see who you are connected to. This is intended to make it easier to establish contacts and, above all, to ensure that certain people can be recommended to each other as good business contacts.
Unfortunately, the same principle also works in the other direction. If you have a noticeable number of rather dubious or strange contacts in your portfolio, negative conclusions can quickly be drawn from this. Therefore, always pay a little attention to the composition of your personal network and remain critical with regard to the decision of whom you accept as business contact and with whom you prefer to keep your distance. Your individual network forms an important part of your reputation over time and should therefore be maintained with care and caution.
Networking is not just an end in itself
If you observe the current habits of private Internet users in the social networks, you will quickly come to the conclusion that many people are only interested in a certain form of self-expression. This networking for its own sake may work on the private side. However, this will not get you very far in business networks. Of course, it doesn't hurt if you enjoy making and maintaining business contacts. However, you should pursue clear goals and not just practice networking as an end in itself.
At the beginning of your offensive in terms of business networks, set such goals for yourself as clearly as possible and also develop strategies with which you can achieve these goals. Make it clear to the outside world for what specific reasons you are active in networking. In this way, you will be perceived as particularly serious, which significantly increases the chance that you will respond positively to your contact inquiries and your concerns.
[Infographic] Contacts are everything if you take good care of them
How often have you seen it yourself that you had to place an order and place it with a business partner with whom you were already in good contact? And how often do you think you do not get a certain order because another company simply has better contacts with the client? In other words: Even and especially in business, contacts are the be-all and end-all. Establishing and maintaining them has become much easier in recent years. (Source: German Aerospace Center e.V.)
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