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While networking is vital to any professional’s success, it’s even more essential for entrepreneurs. Without networking, you’re likely to become so wrapped up in managing your own business that you’re not making the connections that will help you grow. These suggestions can help you make a conscious effort to network and meet the people that will become trusted colleagues.

Build Relationships

From the moment you know you’re going to start your own business, you should make a conscious effort to forge new relationships with everyone you meet. From vendors and business partners to your own customers, virtually every person you meet will have something of value to offer. By building long-lasting relationships with these people, you can help yourself grow professionally and personally.

Use Your Existing Contacts

Putting yourself out there means more than just engaging with the people you already do know. While you want to maintain and grow these relationships, you also want to try to network with other professionals. One way to do this is by asking your existing colleagues to introduce you to the people they think you should meet. This can help you grow your circle substantially in a very short time.

Let Others Know How to Find You

How you interact with others sends a clear message about yourself. For instance, neglecting to make contact information readily available sends the message that you don’t want to connect with others. By the same token, adding all of your contact information to your business cards and email signatures lets people know that your door is open to them. This will help them feel more welcome to contact you in the future.

Make Use of Social Media

LinkedIn is especially useful in connecting with other professionals, yet many entrepreneurs don’t make adequate use of this resource. You can use the site to meet others and to interact with existing contacts on a daily basis. This can help you learn about events and workshops, where you can meet your online contacts in person.

There is no wrong way to expand your circle of contacts. As long as you’re making the effort to network, you will get positive results sooner or later. Taking the opportunity to meet others and to turn one-time meetings into long-term relationships may take practice, but it should also be a fun way for you to grow as an entrepreneur.