Networking is an essential part of growing a small business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new entrepreneur or a long-time business owner, building and sustaining a strong network can open doors to new opportunities, partnerships, and highly important connections. Despite this, networking is not just about meeting new people; it’s about nurturing relationships and making meaningful connections. To help small business owners make the most of their networking efforts, check out these dos and don’ts to keep in mind.


  1. Be Genuine and Authentic: When networking, try to build real connections with people. Show genuine interest in others and be authentic in your interactions. Typically people are more likely to remember and trust those who are sincere and genuine.
  2. Follow Up: After making initial contacts, make sure to follow up with your new connections. Whether it’s a quick email, phone call, or meeting for coffee, if you follow up it shows that you value the relationship and are interested in furthering the connection.
  3. Give Before You Get: Networking is not just about what you can gain. Show initiative and be willing to help others/offer value without expecting anything in return. This might involve sharing knowledge, making introductions, or offering assistance in some way.
  4. Attend Networking Events: Look for similar networking events, industry conferences, and local business gatherings. These provide great moments to meet like-minded individuals and potential collaborators.
  5. Be Prepared: Before attending networking events, have a clear awareness of what you want to achieve and prepare an elevator pitch that briefly describes who you are and what your business does.
The Dos and Don'ts of Networking for Small Business Owners


  1. Be Overly Aggressive: While it’s important to be proactive in networking, overly pushing your business onto others can be counterproductive. Be respectful of others’ time and boundaries.
  2. Forget to Listen: Effective networking involves active listening. Take the time to understand the needs and challenges of the individuals you meet, and see if there’s a way you can help.
  3. Neglect Your Online Presence: In today’s digital age, your online presence matters. Ensure that your online profiles, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, accurately reflect your professional image and are up to date.
  4. Underestimate the Power of Referrals: Referrals are a powerful tool in networking. Don’t hesitate to ask satisfied clients or contacts for referrals, and reciprocate when possible.
  5. Give Up Easily: Building a solid network takes time and effort. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see results right away. Keep developing your relationships and stay persistent.

For small businesses, networking can be a valuable asset for small business owners. If you follow these dos and don’ts, entrepreneurs can build deep and beneficial connections that can lead to new opportunities, collaborations, and business growth. Never forget that networking is about developing genuine relationships and adding value to others, and when done right, it can be a compelling tool for success.