Networking is an essential activity that is not only fun, but also critical to your business development.
By surrounding yourself with people with similar drive and ambition, you are much more likely to move forward!
But this is not the only benefit of networking. In fact, it’s only the beginning…
1. Sharing ideas
Networking is a unique way to share knowledge and ideas about your business. By talking to people with various interests, you would be able to see the world from a different perspective and expand your knowledge and expertise. You can also use networking as a tool to bounce ideas off others - and to help them shape theirs.
Contrary to popular belief, very few people walk away from a few hours spent at a business networking event with a fistful of contracts. However, by networking you can find out about various opportunities that you can benefit from. Whether it’s a referral, a strategic partnership, a joint venture or a request for your service or product, its important to keep networking and seize any opportunities that come your way. But what you do after the event is what is even more important. Follow-up is key to deepening the relationships that will increase your bottom line.
Remember you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room, you are also building connections with their network too. This is one of the most important gains from networking. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, if you have made an impression, you are likely to get a referral. And remember it’s not just a one-way street. If someone in your network matches a business you encounter at an event, don’t hesitate to share their details. It will only strengthen your relationship. Building a two-way relationship is key to a longer-term success.
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, you will naturally improve your self-confidence. Having confidence is an important attribute as a business owner, because your business growth is dependent on talking to people and making connections. Since most of the people you network with have an understanding of your motivations, frustrations and triumphs, the atmosphere would generally be of mutual support - and what more suitable environment to develop your interpersonal skills than this?
5.Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognise you. This can you help to build your brand and reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive entrepreneur offering useful information or tips to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more leads and referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they need what you offer!
Small business is all about networking, building connections and collaboration!
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