Coworking, Powerful Network generation machine!
Most people have the tendency of building a network through accessibility – they connect with people in their own office, and perhaps some other experts in the industry over a certain period of time. As a result, they end up surrounded with a network limited to their profession only.
Fortunately, coworking allows you to broaden your narrow network, giving you the opportunity to meet competitors, collaborators, business partners, other prospective employees, and whatnot. Coworking is a proven way to improve the productivity, but it also opens your world to huge opportunities in terms of networking.
Networking can be low-key and feel as simple as having a conversation around the watercooler with new friends. Knowing this, it is time that you use coworking as a strategy for widening your current network. ‘Having a broader network is the smartest thing you can do.
Why do smart entrepreneurs join coworking hubs? Because they are smart, huh! Because they understand the incredible benefits of learning from others and referral business generation that only a coworking space can bring them.
Aside from being prepared and bringing business cards with you, there are other things you can do throughout your day that will open doors and build connections with your coworkers. Let us discuss how to generate network in a coworking space.
1. Initiate conversations
Networking just cannot work for introverts. You need to be open to the idea of initiating conversations with people you don’t know. You can start a simple talk by “hello”. It is important to break the ice. Smile will cost you nothing. Don’t start with sales conversation. Start with general talk. How is your business going? You can ask about lunch? Networking can be done by building relationships. Your coworkers can be your friends for lifetime. This will compel them to help you. Whether they do it by generating referrals for you or collaborating with you is up to them.
2. Eat Lunch in the Common Area
It is sometimes tricky to know when and how to approach someone in a work environment, especially in a coworking space where everyone is on different schedules and working on different projects. Make an effort to visit the most social areas of the space at various points in the day. Usually, wherever there’s food and/or beverage, there’s conversation. People are more likely to chat while refilling their coffee or waiting for their lunch to microwave. Lunch time is when many members step away from their desks, making it the optimal time to meet your neighbours. If your shared office or coworking space has a common lunch area, eat there, and encourage others to do the same. A quick chat with someone across the table could turn into a fruitful partnership.
3. Share your knowledge
Business is all about continuous learning. Sharing your knowledge can not only help a fellow co-worker, but also lead to future gains. At some point you’ll be on the receiving end of useful knowledge. For example you can share which professional software you are using which is helping in business accounting. You can share contact details of your vendors like CA or legal services. If a coworker is stuck up in something related to your expertise, never shy away from offering help. This proves your thought leadership, and chances are that they’d recommend you to someone looking for similar service.
4. Useful Promotional Materials
Instead of distributing pamphlets or brochures about your business, make useful promotional materials. Stationary, pens, sticky pads, board pins are used by everyone, include your name/business name/ URL on them. Place them in areas used by everyone, in meeting rooms, near the printers and break rooms. Distribute them for free, these things are needed every now and then by everyone, you don’t push the services yet people come to know about you.
5. Participate in events
You can leverage events to generate contacts in two common ways:
a. Either host an event yourself and throw your business cards around, generating awareness among customers for your business,
b. Ensure that you attend events hosted by others at your coworking space so that you get to meet as many new people there and develop your network. You never know who might need your services and might give you the game-changing deal you’ve always dreamed of.
When it comes to networking, we all have to accept that this is the long game. Some people fail to widen their network because they expect immediate returns. Since the main reason to build your network is to open more opportunities and build yourself as a person, you need to stop looking for immediate returns. Make connections like you did so far – with persistence, patience and time.