- Business networking is one of the best and most effective tools every business owner can use to grow their business, meet new people and establish themselves in the market.
- As an entrepreneur, you can't simply count on starting up your business and letting the work 'get done' by itself or through only one particular marketing channel.
- You need to go out, network with people, stop isolating yourself from the market and thus, succeed. Learn why business networking is important and how you can use it.
Networking is a great way to stop feeling isolated.
So, you made the choice to have a home office to help balance your Work and Family Life. This is great at the time and you feel in control of when and how you get your work done. After a while though, you may begin to realise you may have isolated yourself and miss the interaction with others on a regular basis.
Creating your own business gave you the flexibility you needed to care for your family. It really is becoming something of the "norm," especially with the increase of what can be done with the help of technology.
Networking also gives you choices and control though. It will help to grow your business if done correctly. Networking, too, is a great way to stop feeling isolated and similarly, you can choose when, where and how you do this.
What to consider for business networking
There are things to consider in order making networking worthwhile for you and your business. Don’t be simply socialising. You ultimately want it to be business focused as it can raise your profile and generate new business opportunities for you.
Joining an established networking group may frighten you as you may then be the “new kid on the block.” Don't worry! Others often feel this way too. There will be a time when you are helping the next "new kids on the block" with the already-mastered networking skills of your own.
You can be the quiet “wallflower” and observe initially, but sooner or later you know you will have to become a part of the group or it will be of no use for you to be there. How do you do this? Listen eagerly to what the organisers say and do, this is your clue to what is expected of you.
Tips for effective networking
NB: Bad habit - getting busy handing out business cards in the hope that someone will say that they need your service or product. You are not there to be a salesperson! You are there to develop a relationship with others that will ultimately stop you from feeling isolated and allow you to build a profile that in time will reward you with business.
Here's a tip - don't always be the one to want to use the services of, or buy the product of someone you've met. This does not always make them immediately reciprocate. Have a plan to communicate with others and let them get to know you while you get to know them.
Because of business networking, you will gain opportunities to promote your company and also to assist others. You will become recognised and sought out, receive invites, meet new people and go to different places, all the while having a great time and sharing great ideas.
Some networking events and groups will result in some very good new business opportunities for you, and some great friendships and strategic alliances will form in the end. A lot of events though may cost you money and time and your return on that investment may be NIL. That needs to be addressed. You can solve this and also solve your isolation by having a business networking plan.
How often do you get out and network?
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