We believe success comes from the ability to foster meaningful relationships in your personal and professional life. Would you agree? This is probably the reason why many highly successful business leaders are also excellent at expanding their business network.
Your network is your net worth – Porter Gail
Whether you are the sole proprietor of your business or own a company, business networking with the right people and organizations will help you grow in every aspect. In the world of education and migration, managing people and building relationships is your forte. Find out how you can use this ability to expand your business network:
Collaborate with colleges and universities to expand your business network
Colleges and universities worldwide are constantly on the lookout for reliable agents and agencies to promote their institutions or recruit international students. They need you as much as you need them!
Search online to see what they have to offer and apply or make your business pitch accordingly. Their global outreach and academic excellence combined with your local knowledge can grow your agency’s business network like no other.
Join agency networks and online communities
The internet is buzzing with communities and forums of all shapes and sizes. For instance, Migration Alliance is a website that Registered Migration Agents and anyone looking to migrate to Australia can join as members.
Others like the Education Agents Forum bring together education providers and counselors under a single platform by hosting events and discussions. Similarly, the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) strives to empower professionals and engage institutions. Search these resources and join those that fit with your agency’s objectives.
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Subscribe to industry news
The education and migration industry is big and changing all the time. It is essential to understand these changes and plan accordingly. However, you can only do so when you know the news beforehand.
Subscribe to industry news on pages like the Migration Institute of Australia or PIE, a news and business analysis platform for professionals in international education. You will receive regular updates about the industry – from policy changes and products to research and partnerships. It will help grow your agency business network as well.
Join relevant training courses
Learning is an evolving process and never actually complete. By joining relevant training courses in your industry, you will enhance your knowledge as well as expand your business network in the right circles. While some require fees, many of them are free!
The Education Agent Training Course (EATC) is a free, online, self-paced, industry-recommended course that provides agents with information about the Australian education system. PIER is another training body. Other organizations like the British Council and Canada Course for Education Agents (CCEA) also offer such training courses.
Meet people and stay visible
To grow your network, visibility is essential. Go to industry-related seminars, workshops and conferences, where you can meet your peers and share experiences. In fact, you can even host your own events, however small or large. Get your team to plan a seminar, workshop, or event in your local area, along with an online webinar option for delegates in other regions or countries.
You can do a lot online too! Social networking sites like LinkedIn are ideal for professionals from all industries. Create a profile and start networking with other professionals. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are also good for enhancing your digital footprint and getting feedback. Send newsletters and updates to your existing clients and potential ones, so your agency remains top-of-mind.
Increase referrals from past and present clients
Develop a referral program in your agency that incentivizes clients, past and present, for referring their contacts to your business. This really works, as people will most likely take effective suggestions from their peers.
Make this program visible on your website and social media pages. You can include it in your newsletters and emails as well. Referrals can be one of the most effective ways of building your agency’s business network.
Establish Strategic Alliances
In a strategic alliance, two or more companies come together to achieve goals that are mutually beneficial. They share information, resources, capabilities, as well as risks. More importantly, a common reason for joining a strategic alliance is to take advantage of another company’s innovations.
For instance, another company in your industry may have developed an innovative product or service that you need. In turn, they might be looking to grow their network with your help. In such cases, a strategic alliance is a great option as both companies can benefit from each other’s expertise as well as work towards a common goal.
Expanding your business network must be a combination of your personal and professional efforts. Although there is a difference between the two, the way you choose to conduct yourself will also matter.
Moreover, growing your business network should not only depend on you. Your agency’s staff can also play an integral role and it must be an important part of their job profiles.