21 Fail-Proof Business Networking Steps

She had claimed the prize of 12 current clients and was now working toward a goal of 30. I asked this highly motivated small business owner the one question every successful entrepreneur needs to know cold–What are your top three sources of new business?

Her top three sources all came from personal relationships via business networking. They were:

  1. A local PR firm
  2. A local search firm
  3. A local website design firm.
business networking is not magic

Business networking is not about sleight of hand or card tricks.

Nothing surprising here.

Lovingly cultivated personal relationships with businesses that partially overlap your own will form the basis of new referrals. So commit to shifting your thinking and actually doing things for and with the people in your business network. When your “executrix” whips those relationships into place, it will do more good than 500 webinars and 100 white papers combined.

Here are 21 tips for better business networking, to keep your contacts aware and appreciative ever after.

1. Refer a person in your business network for a speaking opportunity. (When it happened to me, I was so very grateful!)

2. Give them a +1 on their Klout score.

3. Make a donation to your contact’s favorite charity, in appreciation for their assistance.

4. Join their Twitter Chat and help build excitement for their brand or cause. (A concise overview of how to find and join a Twitter Chat by @LisaBarone is here .)

5. Invite your contacts to join you at an evening out, perhaps one with learning and mingling. Or, take them out to the ball game, the driving range, or another venue that will enable you to go for the gusto, together.

6. Re-tweet their content, comment on their blog, share or like their stuff.

7. Send a thank you gift or card that shows thought. Even if you have said it in the past, the currency of business relationships is the relationship itself. Build it with real concern.

8. Suggest connections and introduce them. It has been said that you should never eat alone, so why go for doubles when you can triangulate with a new face?

9. Offer to interview them for your blog post, on a podcast, or for an article that you save and upload to a Scribd, where anyone can become a published author.

10. Spontaneously write them a recommendation on LinkedIn.

11. Add your review of their service to TripAdvisor/Yelp or similar online review site.

12. Show up at their event. Peeps work hard to create valuable business networking events, and just turning out helps them look successful (and in many cases, provides you with the opportunity you seek).

13. Review their stuff on your own site. Mention them (or their firm) by name and offer a backlink. (And, by the way, you should always have a Google Alert set to your name and your brand, so you can know immediately when you are being mentioned.)

14. Spend some of your time at the table they need to staff or the booth they are working at a trade show, so they can roam and enjoy a break.

15. Offer up your workplace space after hours. Especially in cities, if you work at a law firm or brokerage, those conference rooms that are empty in the evening could be gold for a networking group.

16. Send a candidate suggestion to someone who you know seeks talent.

17. Refer a paying customer, or refer a contact to a potential third-party alliance partner.

18. Volunteer your time and expertise for a project with specific goals, a project that helps them in their work.

19. Recommend your contact or their firm for an award in their industry. Or, make up an award and recognize a whole bunch of your contacts.

20. Answer their question online (the news feed of Facebook, the Q&A of a closed group,etc.), or send them what they need. I once heard about a relatively obscure blogger who followed the tweets of a big honcho. When he advised that he needed some inspiration, the blogger was quick on the draw and printed up a set of silk-screened T-shirts with cool designs. When the follower sent it over, he made a connection for life.

21. Send useful articles.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, Gamma Man.

Do you have other fail-proof ways to build your business network? Let’s hear them in the comments.

MuCash lets you make donations quicky in increments as small as a single penny. By leaving a small donation every time you find something of value on Mojo40, you can help me (Diane) keep creating content like this for you to enjoy.
Did you enjoy this post?
  • http://www.michelledemarco.net/ Michelle DeMarco

    What a thoughtful blog post!  I love these ideas!  We can all help each other achieve success if we implemented them!  Thanks!

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Glad to be useful, Michelle. BTW, Love that ‘Bossy Redhead’ moniker in your tagline…!

  • http://twitter.com/AnastasiyaDay AD VirtualAssistance

    I agree with Michelle – what a thoughtful article! Brilliant tips – Thanks for sharing these tips with us.

  • http://sharonoday.com/ Sharon O’Day

    Reading the list, Diane, made me realize I could be doing much more networking than I am … although I invest bunches of time in a handful of them.  Time to rework my schedule and go “triangulate” with more new faces.  ;-)

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Sharon, if you ever come up to the metropolitan area of the Big Apple, please put me on you “must-meet” list! Would love to do that in-person business networking!

  • Donovan Grant

    Wow!  Thanks for the 21 tips Diane, there are definitely quite a few that I would nt have tried. One that I think is really cool is to ”
    Spontaneously write them a recommendation on LinkedIn.” I’ll be putting in a good word for sure!!

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Great, Donovan. You will absolutely brighten someone’s day, if you do that!

  • Sondra

    FABULOUS Diane! Thanks for broadening the entrepreneurial horizon beyond the the weeklyThursday night networking event!! Well done!

What is this site about?

It’s about getting you up to speed with today’s digital networking tools, and sharing a roadmap to elevate your career that doesn’t assume you grew up with wi-fi in your bassinet. Ready to get your career mojo back?

Featured in Alltop


  • Age Concerns (10)
  • Attitude Adjustment (32)
  • Balancing Work and Life (10)
  • Best Videos (8)
  • Blogging Tips (8)
  • Creative Engine (10)
  • Facebook FAQ (3)
  • Funding (1)
  • Gigging (7)
  • How to Become an Entrepreneur (26)
  • How to Increase Sales (13)
  • How to Interview Well (13)
  • How to Network (22)
  • Job Search Strategies (13)
  • Learn Something New (33)
  • LinkedIn Tips (14)
  • Small Business Web Marketing (14)
  • Social Media Tips (13)
  • Tech Tips (21)
  • Time Management Strategies (17)
  • Twitter Tips (7)

Socialize with us at

  • Find us on LinkedIn
  • Find us on Twitter

Find Us On Facebook


Mojo40 Twitter Updates