What is networking? Basically, networking is the process of forging new connections and building up relationships within your profession that can stand for a long period of time. The construction industry in particular works best when you can network effectively enough to obtain more projects or push you in the direction of something grander for your construction start-up.
Networking can be overwhelming, especially because there are so many ways to go about it. However, networking in the construction sphere can be as easy as meeting new people and forming a relationship.
Why is networking important for my start-up?
Networking is a huge benefit to expanding your business and potentially even lining your business up for a new project. By meeting others in the construction industry, you may potentially have a friend later down the line who can help you out, put you in touch with others looking for the kind of work you do, and more. Networking is easy and a great way to expand a business that is just starting out.
1. Never leave a bad impression.
While some relationships may come to a natural end, it’s a good idea to maintain good relationships with past employers, employees, coworkers, and subcontractors who you have worked with. You may come across these people again – and everyone knows everyone in the construction industry, so people will definitely know if you have ever left a bad impression on a past acquaintance.
2. Attend conferences, events, seminars.
There are plenty of trade associations that may host seminars, meetings, conferences, and other events at any point during the year that can serve as great opportunities for you to meet others in the industry and forge new connections. You can even join your local chamber to meet with other business leaders in your local area, which can later lead to more networking opportunities and chances to meet like-minded individuals in your field of construction work.
3. Try digital.
Networking sites are a thing of now and they can serve as great ways to not only forge new connections but even offer a way to reconnect with past friends that you may not have spoken to in a little while. There are also plenty of groups that can help you meet others in the construction industry where you can start on contribute to discussions.
LinkedIn is a great example of a quality social networking platform where you can meet others, reconnect, and discuss over shared topics. While this should not stand-in for any in-person connections, it can be a great starting point.
4. Facilitate connections by helping others.
The easy part is making the connection. Now? You have to build it. One of the best ways to nurturing a connection is to find out how you can help them, rather than immediately trying to navigate how they will be able to help you. If you cannot help your new connection directly, you can put them in touch with any professionals you may know in the business. Who knows? They may even reciprocate this gesture later down the line by introducing you to someone who may help you out.
5. Get to know the specialty employees and contractors.
Maybe you are doing a job that is taking weeks – or even months. No time spent at the jobsite is wasted time. Get to know the people who are working on the job with you. If the project is particularly large, there will be no shortage of contractors around you at any given point who you can connect with.
This is an easy way to expand your network while also getting work done. Take your time and meet with the various specialty contractors at your latest jobsite throughout the project. You might be surprised at the kind of connections you forge.
6. Put your contact information onto a business card.
If you have recently made a new connection or friend, a great way to ensuring you can remain in contact with them is by giving them your business card. Likewise, if they give you theirs, you should be sure to examine it thoroughly before storing it. You can even use their business card as a place to store a note or two about the conversation that you had so you can bring it up later when you reconnect.
When it comes to your personal business card, ensure that the information you have on it is all correct and up to date. You would never want to lose out on a potential business opportunity if your business card’s information was misspelled or no longer in service.
Remember – networking can happen just about anywhere.
Networking is essentially meeting the right person in the industry and getting to know them a bit better. You may think this has to happen while you are at work, at a conference, or in some other professional setting, but it can happen anywhere. You can meet someone at the grocery store or even on vacation. Seriously – networking can be that easy! While you can’t depend on these “random interactions,” it’s good to keep in mind that you can meet the right person anywhere and have a meaningful conversation with them that later translates to a growth in your business.
Reputation also matters, and it can seriously help to boost your chances of forging great relationships within your industry. One of the ways to preserve your construction start-up’s reputation is to acquire insurance. Depending on the nature of the work you do, you might need builder’s risk insurance, contractor liability insurance, property insurance, or another form of coverage – it all depends on what you do and how you operate. Insurance proves to your hiring bodies that you have a plan if something goes wrong and that you are invested in the work you do.