Networking is a socioeconomic activity where entrepreneurs and business people meet up to build business relationships and spot, form, or seize business opportunities, seek out prospective business partners for future ventures and share information.
Small business owners utilise networking as a way to create relationships with others, in similar or related fields, that assist in expanding the ability of their business to locate new partners and customers and to grow.
The key to effective networking is making yourself known. An outsourced brand manager can help with this. The premise behind this being the more individuals you meet, the more they will get to know both you and your enterprise. Make sure to utilise every social and professional opportunity to meet up and connect with new individuals.
Below are key reasons outlining why networking is essential for small businesses.
Networking is an excellent way of getting new business leads. Utilising the contacts you get when you meet with different people is sure to open doors for business prospects.
When following up on leads, ensure you communicate professionally. Most people are willing to assist others but aren’t interested in somebody who badgers them for business. Make sure you are sensitive with the timing and use common courtesy when you follow up with the leads you make.
Identify Best Practices
Networking is an excellent way of identifying the best business practices or industry benchmarks. Learning from others is an invaluable strategy and resource for any business.
For instance, if you are a restaurant owner and you are a member of a restaurant association, you can discover what the latest employee management practices or software programs are, and use them for your business.
New Business Trends
Networking can assist you to stay on top of new business fads and state-of-the-art technology. These sorts of relationships and ‘inside’ information can provide you with an edge over your competitors by applying new and fresh methods of doing things.
With that being said, networking is an essential skill, and some individuals are just naturally gifted at mingling with new people and making friends the first time around.
Exercise being friendly and learn the art of making conversation. Make it a point to remember the names of people you meet. Have a system; write down something specific about an individual on the back of their card to help you remember when you are back at your workplace.
The more you network and push yourself to speak with persons you don’t know; the more your confidence will increase. This is very crucial as a business owner since your business growth is dependent on speaking to people and fostering connections.
Networking is an excellent tool for people who aren’t self-confident since it forces them to grow and helps to make lasting connections through conversations with individuals they don’t know.
It’s not about WHAT you are aware of, rather WHO you know. This saying is totally true with regard to building a profitable business. For your small business to grow rapidly, you’ll need to have a strong source of possible network connections that you freely call upon when you need the help.
Networking can assist you to speak with highly influential persons you wouldn’t get the opportunity to easily talk to or find.
It’s not all about who you are directly networking with either – chances are that that individual will already have an existing network you can access as well. So be sure to ask the right questions to know whether the individual you are networking with has access to who you want!