Owners of small businesses mostly use networking as a way of forming relationships with potential clients in order to develop their professional network and accelerate the growth of their business through finding new partners and collaborators.
The key factor of networking is to make yourself known to as many people as possible. The logic behind this is simple: the more people you meet, the more people will remember you and your company. This is why it is advised to use every social gathering as an opportunity to get to know and connect with as many new people as possible.
Below are some of the most important reasons why networking is crucial to your business success.
Getting new business leads is very easily achieved through networking. An important thing to remember is to maintain professional communication when following up on leads. Avoid constant follow-up and also be aware of timing and courtesy when sending emails and making phone calls.
Pinpoint best practices
By networking you have the chance to have insight into best practices of businesses and find out more about industry benchmarks for any type of business.
If you are travel agency owner for example and are in a tourism association, it will be easy for you to find out what the most cutting edge software programs and applications, as well as industry trends are suitable for application in your own business. Additionally, you can check out the best deal on the web for software apps for your industry.
Keep up to date on business trends
Staying up to date on new technologies and business trends is another bonus of networking. Relationships that are built by sharing industry-specific inside information allows you to have an advantage over your competition by having fresh viewpoints and modern management styles.
Grow your confidence
People who partake in networking on a regular basis and put themselves out there are usually more confident that people who keep to themselves. Business owners, in particular, will find that their confidence will increase the more time they spend meeting new people and making new connections. People who lack self-confidence have also found that networking actually pushes them to learn how to approach new people in order to make new connections and in turn helps them develop their confidence.
The importance of the right connections
The age-old saying “It’s not what you know, is who you know” is very true when building a successful business. An important part of growing a small business in a short amount of time is having a pool of influential and relevant connections which you can call upon when they are needed.
In this way, networking is good at opening doors when you are trying to get a dialogue going with people you would not be able to find and approach in regular situations.
As with any skills, practice makes perfect, the key is to learn the trick of remembering people’s names when you meet them – a useful hack you can use is to write down a characteristic of the person you meet on the business card they give you so you won’t forget to put a name to a face as soon as you step back into your office.