A female CEO’s guide to effective local networking

Looking to boost your brand’s local reputation? Find out how to start networking and get your name out there.

For any female-led business, tapping into the potential of your local business community is a no-brainer. From encouraging referrals and building a positive brand image to hearing advice from seasoned experts, there are countless benefits to getting involved with networking. But putting yourself – and your business – out there can be a little daunting. That’s where our tips come in.

Become a notable voice in your community and learn how to network effectively with these top tips. 

Get involved with community events

If you know where to look, you can find local events all year long. These provide a great opportunity to get out and meet others in your neighborhood, which is all you need to start networking!

You might find that your town puts on events for small businesses – like markets and late-night shopping – which you can join. When attending, make an active effort to engage with those around you, being ready to talk more about your products or services. Bring your portable card reader along, too, so that you’re always ready for those all-important sales.

Non-business-specific events can also help you get your name out there. Look at events that your target market might be at, like book fairs or climate talks, and head along to chat with other attendees. 

Some events will offer opportunities for you to join in. A charity bake sale, for example, will be more than happy for an extra table and might let you add branding and contact details to your display. It’s a great opportunity to earn some bonus charitable points for your brand image, too!

Not every community event will let you show off your business, though. When this is the case, focus instead on chatting with attendees and creating valuable connections. As the face of your brand, the more people you know the wider audience you have at your fingertips.

Join a networking group

Many areas will have established networking groups that you can join. If you’re looking to make long-lasting business connections, this is the place to do it!

These groups are made up of other CEOs and often have in-person or digital meetings. Business owners are encouraged to introduce themselves and mingle, with the aim of local professionals helping each other grow their brands through mutual support. From word-of-mouth referrals to direct custom from your networking group, it’s a great way to reach a wider audience.

Do be aware that a lot of networking groups charge a membership fee. But, with access to connections and advice, your investment could prove invaluable to the growth of your brand. 

How to find a networking group near you

To find a networking group, search online or ask on a local forum, like a Facebook page for your community. If you already know a few CEOs, you could give them a quick shout to see if they have any group recommendations, too. Some might even have links to exclusive events and bring you along as a plus one, giving you access to in-demand events and kickstarting your networking.

You can also join your Chamber of Commerce. This is a local, established organization that brings together small businesses in the community. It’s also a great resource for business advice, helping your local brand thrive. 

Create an elevator pitch

Whether you’re chatting to a friend of a friend who’s interested in your business or you’re doing a presentation at your local networking membership group, it’s smart to have an elevator pitch ready to go.

An elevator pitch is a quick, 30-second introduction to your business. It’s usually a sentence or two that describes who you are, what your business offers, and how it aims to help customers. Pinpoint any important unique selling points to grab your audience, letting them know why they should be interested in your brand.

Not sure where to begin? Create a great elevator pitch and power up your networking with these tips:

  • Start with your name and your business name
  • Describe the overall aim of your brand in one sentence
  • Focus on positives (e.g. what you solve rather than dwelling on the customer’s problem)
  • Be concise – no rambling!
  • End with what your business brings to your audience

Design on-brand business cards

When networking, you’ll quickly find that business cards are a wonderful tool for getting your contact details out there.

In fact, at networking events it’s often encouraged for attendees to exchange business cards, ensuring everyone has the necessary contact details for referrals. Local customers will also appreciate a business card so that they can keep a note of your brand and learn more about you in their own time.

When designing your cards, be sure to focus on professional imagery, on-brand aesthetics, and clear information. Include your brand name and logo, alongside any relevant contact details (e.g. a phone number and physical address). If you have a website or social media profile, be sure to add the details for those, too.

Buddy up with other businesses

One of the best ways to network is by simply getting in touch with other local businesses. A lot of new brands will send out a PR package to other small businesses, which includes:

  • Your business card
  • A letter saying hello and introducing them to your new business
  • A freebie from your brand (e.g. a product sample or branded item)

Physical stores have a great opportunity to meet their neighbors by walking door-to-door. Head around and say hi, getting to know the people around you. 

Online businesses can reach out digitally, using social media to introduce themselves to other thriving local brands.

Once you’ve got some business buddies, there’s plenty of potential to expand your networking! Set up a local business group chat or a monthly social event, for example, to bring together your entrepreneur pals and share advice, news, and fun. 

Just say yes!

Putting yourself out there is a must for great networking. If you’re invited to an event or asked if you’d like to introduce yourself in a meeting, go for it! The more opportunities you take, the more people you’ll meet and the wider your business name will reach. 

Find a networking method that suits you

Networking comes in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no right or wrong way to make meaningful connections in your local communities. Find a method that works for you and you’re far more likely to keep up with it, after all. Just remember to hone your elevator pitch, get to know your business buddies, and always bring a business card.