When you think of networking, you may picture a bunch of professionals in suits handing out business cards while they nibble on finger foods and sip champagne. But networking is something that can happen at any time, any place, and anywhere. It can happen during a trip to a grocery store or at your kids’ soccer game. It can happen while you’re standing in line at the DMV. No matter where you network, the contacts you create could help boost your career.
What Does it Mean to Network?
The technical term for networking is “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” To break it down, it means making a connection/mentorship with a person or a group of people who can benefit from one another’s insight into business.
If you just graduated from esthetics school, you probably don’t think you have much to offer someone who has successfully run a skin care business for years. Believe it or not, people are just as interested in learning from you as you are from them.
Let’s talk about 5 easy steps on how to prepare ourselves to network.
STEP #1: BUSINESS CARDS
It may seem redundant or old fashioned to have business cards, but they’re ubiquitous for a reason: They are one of the best ways to bring name recognition, share your contact info, and show off your profession and business to others. The best part is, they can be personalized to help others better remember you. Keep the design consistent with your brand and be sure to include your name, social media handles, email, and phone number. Everyone you meet will remember you because your unique business cards are branded just for you.
STEP #2. ALWAYS KEEP A HANDFUL OF CARDS ON YOU
Keep at least ten business cards in your wallet or bag. Every time you go out, whether it's to the gym, restaurant, or coffee shop, have a few on you. You never know who you're going to meet. Consider striking up a conversation with the person next to you in line or the waitress at a restaurant and broach the topic of what you do. Pass them your business card or leave it behind with the tip. This is a great way to network and build your client base.
STEP #3. MAKE IT PERSONAL
Let's say you have an amazing conversation with someone and end up exchanging information. Write a short message on your card about your interaction. For example, maybe you talked about an upcoming vacation. Write, "Hope you have a great trip!” and sign your name on the card. It’s also a good idea to make notes on the back of their business card to help you remember the conversation you had. This makes your interaction memorable and personable.
STEP #4. KNOW YOURSELF
Know your strengths and weaknesses and set goals for where you want your career to be. When networking and joining conversations, keep your goals in mind and think about the ways you and the person you’re conversing with may mutually benefit one another. For example, you may be amazing at eyebrow shaping but need some additional skills in eyelash extensions. Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses will help navigate you toward someone you can learn from.
STEP #5. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
If you're preparing to go to an event or a place where you'll have an opportunity to make connections (a trade show, salon or spa, an open house, or even an on-line class), research some of the people who might attend. Maybe there's a sugaring professional you follow on Instagram who’s going to have a booth at a trade show. You love their products and technique and really wish you knew how to sugar with the same skill. Make it your plan to introduce yourself at the show and to specifically mention your admiration for their technique. Chat for a bit and end the conversation by asking if you could have their contact information in case you run into challenges down the line. By going into a networking event with a game plan, you're preparing yourself not only to meet people, but to also create lasting connections that can help boost your career.
Networking can happen anywhere! It can help boost confidence, communication, business, and connections. You can learn from others just as much as they can learn from you at any point in your career. Ask yourself these questions to help get you started.
- When was the last time I networked?
- Do I have business cards I know will represent myself and what I stand for?
- Do I have the tools needed to market myself and network?
- What opportunities can I take advantage of to make connections?
ASCP is here to help you help grow and expand your business. Below are some resources and tips to boost your online presence and continue productive business practices.
Memes and social media go hand in hand and are about connecting with people online. Social media is your platform and memes are a way to express yourself, present an idea, or share some knowledge in a creative way. Check out ASCP’s social media memes to boost your online presence and stay connected with your client base.
ASCP members have access to ASCP’s marketing bundles, providing you with a package of customized, branded materials, including:
- Appointment Reminder Cards
- Gift Certificates
- Loyalty Rewards Cards
- Referral Cards
- Social Media Cover Photos