It’s a new year full of new opportunities, so now is the perfect time to start building your social capital.
We now have numerous ways to measure business finances, thanks to technology, but measuring your social capital is also critical. Explore new ways to measure and build up social capital, and ensure that you invest your time and efforts effectively.
Social capital can be broadly defined as strengthening your organisation by focusing on the development of personal and professional networks.
Take a strategic approach to building social capital so you achieve outcomes that are right for you and your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Network and form trusted relationships
There are many local networking groups in the area and now is a good time to give several a try, to find the right fit for you. Once you have decided on the most appropriate group, determine how much time you will devote to attending events and consider the associated return on investment. Extract the most from networking groups through regular attendance at events, as this gives people a chance to know you and develop trusted relationships. Remember your networking etiquette and don’t just turn up expecting to sell. Access the Sutherland Shire Council’s list of networking groups and try one out.
2. Sponsor a local charity or volunteer for a cause
Linking your business with a local charity or Not-for-Profit (NFP) is a great way to show your commitment to your local community. Set aside part of your budget to provide much-needed financial support to an NFP or cause. Share your expertise on a volunteer basis. Make sure that you promote your involvement on your website or LinkedIn profile, and take advantage of relevant public speaking opportunities and more. Access the Sutherland Shire Council’s Community Services Directory to find a local charity or NFP.
3. Face-to-face meetings have value
While online correspondence and messaging have their place, nothing beats in-person meetings when getting to know a potential customer, provider or someone who might refer your business one day. There are plenty of great cafes in the Sutherland Shire for that initial get-together.
4. Monitor local news developments
Become aware of local issues and opportunities by monitoring your preferred local news sites and Facebook groups, as there may be a chance to offer your goods or services to meet a community need.
5. Ensure your marketing reflects your commitment to your community
Make sure that your Google My Business listing, website, social media presence, shopfront, signage, brochures or customer service activities are authentic, current and relevant because they are an extension of your local presence.
6. Be strategic and stick to your objectives
Having a documented and up-to-date business and marketing plan will provide structure for your social capital activities. Setting desired outcomes helps ensure that you value your time appropriately and will hit the right targets. Like all phases of business development, building your social capital isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. When done right, social capital acquisition can make a big difference to your success.
By Joanne Ryan
Joanne Ryan is Managing Director of Infodec Communications, an experienced and long-established communications, strategy and marketing company located in Miranda.