One of the most important and lucrative tactics for becoming a successful business person involves the ability to expand your professional network. There is a very common phrase to best support this message: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Being able to build a broad network of professionals can open the door to more business opportunities including obtaining more clients, job propositions, being invited to attend various events, and ultimately have an overall positive impact on your career. Here are a few easy and effective ways to grow your network.

Attend Events & Conferences

Not every event or conference you encounter will have the words “networking event” anywhere in sight, even though each one is exactly that. Any and every opportunity you have to gather and associate with other people in your industry is an opportunity to expand your network. Show up with plenty of business cards to hand out, and utilize this time to meet people and connect with them on a level deeper than just exchanging names. First impressions are crucial during these fast-paced events, so get ready to shake some hands.

Explore Organizations

Nearly every industry in the professional world has some kind of organization that shares your interests and goals. Joining these organizations allows you to meet more people within your industry to expand your network. Organizations will often provide you with a list of members and a way to get in contact with them. These organizations will also run some form of a regional or national conference to gather and update their members on what direction the organization is going. Again, these can be utilized as networking events, it’s all relevant!

Online Presence

In addition to attending different events, conferences, and joining different organizations, having an online presence is a must for successful professionals in 2018. While you’re meeting all of these different people, you need to provide them with a place to go to learn more information about you. The easiest way to do this is through using a LinkedIn profile, where you can add people to your connections on the spot. You can also create a personal website with more information on your interests, and an easy way to get in contact with you.

Growing your professional network has many benefits in terms of meeting new people and expanding business resources and success. It’s also important to keep track of those connections once they are made, which is why your online presence also plays an important part. Expanding your network is not always met with instant gratification, and can take a lot of hard work, but will be entirely worth it in the end.