They say that success is all about who you know, and that is true for every industry across the world. No marketing or sales strategy is quite as effective as making personal connections with colleagues and other business owners who can provide valuable insight and information. But how do you go about making these connections for your manufacturing business? Read on to learn some ideas you can try to improve your professional network.
You may not be much of a Tweeter yourself, but the reality is that your company needs a social media presence. Being active on multiple platforms is imperative for a few reasons. For starters, it is a great way to let people know who you are and what you have to offer to the community. Not everyone understands what makes manufacturing such a vital part of the local economy, and this is your chance to help them learn more.
The second reason you want to be active on social media is that many businesses use a social media presence as a way of legitimizing their business to others. In other words, potential clients will expect you to have a social media presence, and seeing an active, well-maintained Facebook page or Instagram feed will go a long way in reassuring clients that your company is the real deal.
Finally, you want to consider a social media presence because it is already built for networking – much of the work is done for you through these platforms. You can learn about the local community, research new trends in your industry, and get feedback from your clients through social media. Bonus: It’s free to create an account on most platforms, though you may want to invest some funds in promoting your business so your intended audience sees what kind of services you offer.
If this sounds like an overwhelming amount of work, consider looking for a consultant or part-time employee who will create and maintain a dedicated social media presence for your manufacturing business. They can work with you to create a plan and a vision for your social media accounts, and from there you can relax as the expert takes over and builds your networks.
Do you or your team members participate in trade shows? If not, you should consider looking for opportunities to send your employees to local shows. Attending trade shows is important for two reasons: First, you want to make your presence known in the manufacturing community! Getting your name out there is the first step in building a network that will allow you to expand further into the industry. Much like social media, these shows are a great way to show others who you are.
The other reason you want to participate in trade shows is that it offers valuable insight into industry trends and information. You will be privy to previews of future products, information about predicted trends for the coming year, and an understanding of what procedures and processes are going to be updated or replaced altogether. In short, you can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities that trade shows offer your business. You can look for upcoming trade shows through a little research on the web – many sites have compiled lists of which shows you want to keep an eye on for the upcoming year, which makes it easier for you to plan out which employees to send to which show. You can even consider presenting at a show yourself –just keep an eye out for due dates and requirements for those who are interested in presenting or exhibiting. While the current COVID-19 situation may mean these shows look a little different than before, you would still be wise to begin the process of researching which shows look like a good fit for your business.
One of the best ways to network for your manufacturing business is to find like-minded colleagues in your area. Groups like the Manufacturing Society of Forsyth County are designed to be a resource for those in the manufacturing business. Consider joining and attending the events put on by this group to stay ahead of relevant news and educational opportunities in the manufacturing industry.
Of course, one of the main benefits of joining a group like this is the networking opportunities it brings. While it may seem counter-intuitive to network with your competitors in the manufacturing business, doing so can actually become an enormous benefit for your company. Collaborating with other manufacturers in the area allows all of you to compare and contrast best practices to learn what has worked (and what hasn’t) for each of you in the community. This means that, instead of relying on information from reports and predictions alone, you can gain some actual, tried-and-true knowledge that will directly serve your business in a positive way.
Being part of a society like this one also comes with the opportunity to work directly with the governing bodies that make many of the rules your company must abide by. This will allow you to stay on top of new policies, while at the same time making your voice heard when the time comes to make changes that will affect your business practices. Be an active part of the decision-making process to shape the community you want for your manufacturing company.
Make plans to attend the next meeting of Forsyth County’s Manufacturing Society on May 12th at 8:30 AM. This session will focus on paths to access new employees. Your can register to participate HERE. To learn more about this society contact Forward Forsyth’s Existing Industry Project Manager, Alex Warner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Networking is all about who you know – but it doesn’t happen by itself. Make your company’s name known, and be intentional about finding others in your industry who can partner with you to help your business rise to the next level. Who you know will shape where you are in the next few years, so start your networking plans today.