Ask any business owner and they will tell you how important it is to build a solid business network. A great business network is high-quality and consists of a group of people you can count on. Building such a network requires commitment and consistency. Here are 3 tips for building a better business network:

1. Be authentic

When introduced to new acquaintances and businesspeople, it is highly recommended to be knowledgeable and stay up-to-date with industry news. But it’s more important to be yourself. Sure, we all want to present a more refined and polished version of ourselves to the world, but it doesn’t help in the long run if we unintentionally mislead acquaintances about your goals and values. The best relationships (yes, business relationships too) happen when you start with a natural connection and common ground. Being authentic also enhances your reputation to others in your field.

2. Bad behaviour is never a good idea

We hear of several charismatic yet overbearing and unpleasant business leaders. We start to wonder if such traits are perfectly acceptable, or worse, integral to success. Please don’t try this.

Being a jerk while taking benefits from your relations and not giving back is detrimental at any stage, but especially so when you are in the process of building and growing your business. You will get an unsavoury reputation and trust us, your network will pass on juicy anecdotes of nasty behaviour to their relations.

Thank your acquaintances when they have provided you a favour. Be kind to them even when it looks like there is no visible payoff for doing so. Being trustworthy and dependable has its business value.

3. Get more personal

Want to know a particular person better? Ask them to hang out together. You’ll have the chance for a more personal discussion. Be open to different ideas. Be willing to have someone teach you business models you may be skeptical of. Share your experiences, points of views, and professional plans to see if this is someone you want to share a more lasting business relationship with. Also, see if this is someone you can trust.

Building a solid business network doesn’t stop at exchanging contact information. It’s what happens after that matters most. Be authentic, be professional and responsible, and establish quality relationships with talented people who trust and inspire.

Looking for more business tips? Click here for how to maximize business productivity and here for ideas on growing a small business.