14 Simple Ways To Expand Your Business Network In 2023

Expertise from Forbes Councils members, operated under license. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Networking is a critical element of growth and success for many professionals. Whether you're a business owner looking to expand your customer base or find partnerships or a job seeker looking to make a career move, finding and connecting with the right people in your industry can be a huge boost to any professional goals you may have set.

The first step in forging these connections is knowing where to look, and often, that means growing the circle of people you have access to through your network. To help you do this, a panel of members share some simple ways to expand your network this year—some of which can still be done from the comfort of your office.

Communities are a great way to expand networks. Creating a community of your customers who come together under one platform to have productive discussions, seek help and help others with their expertise results in increased brand loyalty, which in turn leads to referrals through word-of-mouth. - ,

As an entrepreneur, I feel the best way to expand your network is by engaging in activities that don't revolve around business. Get out and build authentic relationships with people or find a hobby where your avatar may be using the same hobby as a reset away from work. Once you start to build these true relationships, it is only natural to build trust and eventually trust leads to opportunity. - ,

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Share professional insights on LinkedIn at least twice a week. This will help build brand awareness and allow you to connect with others within the industry. In the last six months, my network has grown on LinkedIn by consistently sharing and interacting with others on the platform. Don’t miss out on opportunities that can come from increasing your presence on social media. - ,

I think one simple thing entrepreneurs should do to expand their network this year is to get involved with a cause they care about. People tend to be drawn to people who are passionate about what they do. The more you can make yourself known for your passion and not just for your business, the more likely it is that other people will want to connect with you. - ,

If you do business in your town, check out the town next to you. If you do business nationally, go international. Technology is expanding our network and opportunities for business outreach. Join a networking group that is slightly out of your area, like a chamber of commerce or a program for business leaders. - ,

Social media is a great place to start expanding your network. Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are all excellent ways to extend your reach. They can also be used to share content and ideas that could be beneficial to others in your network. By demonstrating your knowledge through thoughtful posts, you can show potential connections that you have a valuable contribution to offer. - ,

Actively seek out and attend industry events, conferences and networking events in your field. It's also a good idea to be proactive in reaching out to other professionals through social media (LinkedIn is, by all means, the best place to do this) or email. Offer to meet for coffee or lunch to discuss mutual interests and explore potential collaborations. - ,

Use social media to get out messages about your product features versus focusing on the competition. Buyers today want to be educated instead of pitched. Award-winning media executive David Beebe once said, “Marketing is like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one.” - ,

Traveling is a great way for entrepreneurs to expand their network. Looking at the year ahead, pick a few target locations to work into the calendar in advance to start building a network there and to become more established over time. It's also helpful to travel when you can attend relevant events while in a location, and also set up business meetings to maximize relationship building. - ,

Make a plan and block out time in your calendar to intentionally comment on some of your network's social media posts for a certain amount of time a day, week or month. Engaging with other posts will also bolster your own network, bring new eyes to your site or profile and naturally expandsyour network. Stick to responses where you're comfortable and then expand your reach. - ,

To expand your network, entrepreneurs should make a plan and stick to it. If you're not persistently networking and meeting new people, you won't be able to grow and prosper. Always keep moving. The world is constantly spinning, so if you're standing still, you're actually moving backward. Always stay current with the world and the people around you and keep networking. - ,

Connect with other professionals in their industry or related fields by attending events and joining organizations or groups. Reach out directly through social media or email to introduce yourself and express an interest in connecting. - ,

Often entrepreneurs say, “I should network more. I’d enjoy meeting new people, and the company would benefit,” but the decision of how, when and with whom never gains priority status. Set a clear purpose for networking and determine who you want to meet. View the options and develop a clear goal of attending events, joining associations or volunteering with a nonprofit organization. - ,

We are in a connected world and social media quickly shortens the distance needed to develop connection by authentically seeking to learn from others. It may seem simple to state the obviousness of its importance, yet the depth of connection through these platforms is priceless. If you take the time to connect and engage on others' posts on platforms, they may show a concrete desire to connect. - ,