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Regardless of whether you are starting your own business from the ground up or trying to expand your existing professional portfolio, today’s world demands that you have above-average knowledge of online navigation, as well as extensive networking resources, both on the web and in-person.

The first rule of thumb when entering a potentially social situation is not to look too needy. This holds true in the world of business as well. Success attracts success, and in most industries, your image can go a long way. Perception, now more than ever, carries a lot of weight. That being said, there is a huge difference between confidence and humility. It can be just as off-putting to celebrate yourself too much without acknowledging others. 

When you first meet someone, it’s never a good idea to ask for their help right away. Instead of seeking out what they can do for you, the better approach is to demonstrate your value first. People want to know what you can bring to the table with regards to solving their problems. 

When listening to others describe their issues, it’s important to be an active listener. Fully engage them with eye contact and make sure you’re not distracted. You want them to know that you value their time. Ask insightful follow-up questions that get them talking. People love to talk about themselves. 

Aside from the obvious never burn bridges advice, it’s also important to note that you should never forget anyone you’ve met. It’s a very small world and people in the same industry tend to run into each other over and over again.

Networking doesn’t just happen in-person. Living in the age of social media means that you also need to stand out from your competition online. Create professional online profiles. Follow other leaders in your field of interest and they will, in turn, follow back. This will lead to a chain of followers that broadens your audience. In order to maintain interest, keep a steady flow of activity on your news feeds by sharing articles and providing thoughtful and shrewd commentary on relevant topics. All of this will make people take notice of your online presence.

Nothing boosts a company’s standing within a community like public service.  It’s a great way to get your name out and it also instills a sense of camaraderie within your team when they get to help others. Volunteer for local fundraisers or food drives, or run as a company in a local 5K.