Gone are the days when a company could rely on its products and services and a closed group of people to get business partners and customers. The entrepreneur’s small network then wanted them to succeed and therefore, provided crucial information about opportunities and competitor movements.
But, in the 21st century, networking for a business is as crucial as their offerings. If ignored they can miss out on important information and end up giving away business to a competitor who leveraged the opportunity.
Thus, the topic we have for you today is both interesting and important for anyone who is starting his/her venture or is scaling up their company. But, let’s start by understanding what exactly is business networking.
It means interacting and engaging with people for mutual benefit. This can help in establishing and growing business with minimal cost. It can be done in two ways, by being socially active in the digital world i.e. by being posting regularly on websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and by taking part in social events like conferences, industry associations, etc. In simple terms, if you want your business to benefit then networking is the way to go.
So, let’s find out the advantages of business networking for entrepreneurs–
Networking events give an opportunity to business people to be seen in the right group. However, just attending an event does not suffice the purpose, it is essential to be active, introduce yourself, inform others about your company and most critical, find a way to stay connected with them.
When at these events always remember that you are a representative of your company and such events provide you with a playing field to get new partners or also, good talent.
Connect with the right people
Connecting with people is the most significant reason for being present at networking events. Every occasion gives you an opportunity to mingle with a new set of audiences and grow your universe of people. Thus, when being at such business get-togethers have a carefully planned out strategy. Know what you want to achieve, after all, you have left your own work to come to a place that has a majority of unknown people.
Also, remember different events may require different approaches, for instance, in case of a casual beer night, it is fine to not discuss serious business but striking a casual conversation to know the people other than work. On the contrary, when at a business conference, highlight your company and its offerings than giving the attendees a download of your resume and story.
It is a fact that in business who you know plays an important role. Therefore, use these events to associate yourself with significant connections you can reach out to when required.
Attending such seminars and casual gatherings raises your possibility of connecting with people who might be a part of another network that might be of interest to you. These individuals can thus, act as referrals to get you an invitation for such events and even share information about your company and it’s services to others.
Likewise, if someone in their existing group requires services or a product similar to yours, these people can play a role of a connector, thereby, benefitting you.
But to achieve this, you will have to make an impression. So, as a recommendation, prepare such meetings like a business pitch where your only motive is to win the person on the opposite side. However, when talking to them, ensure you deliver the information casually yet in an informative manner.
Sharing Knowledge and Experience
Like many other benefits, networking plays a vital role in sharing ideas and knowledge. It provides an opportunity for people to get feedback, discuss ideas and even share your own views. This helps to increase industry knowledge and even see the other perspective that you choose not to consider.
Also, learned and experienced members of such communities can be a brilliant source of learning anything from running a business efficiently to how to approach investors. Listening to these people can help you make crucial changes you might have ignored. Their experiences and learning can also help you avoid making the same mistakes as theirs.
This is one of the most significant benefits that a person can derive from networking events. By regularly meeting strangers and trying to make an impression, entrepreneurs can build self-confidence. To run a business and lead people successfully, this is one attribute that is a must for anyone who wants to start his or her own venture.
Thus, after every event analyze and see how many people you interacted with and how many good conversations you had. Always remember, if you thought meeting just a few would suffice your purpose then think again, every person at an event is an opportunity that is waiting to be explored.
Follow up with contacts
After meeting like-minded people and some influential ones, you must be thinking you’ve had a good day at work. Yes, indeed you did but with the only difference that now you have to keep all those valuable connections as a part of your network.
You can do this primarily by sending them a request on LinkedIn, only there and not on their other personal social pages like Facebook or Instagram, just yet. These websites might prompt you by showing them in people you may know but remember you have met them only once and doing something like that might seem unprofessional.
Also, if you have someone’s business card, you can always send them a thank you note for taking time out for you. Also, it is fine to tell people that you had a meaningful conversation with them and thus, invite them for coffee when free. Make sure, you find a way to write to them the next day and not keep it pending. After all, a meeting is half work done but finding a way to stay connected actually work completed.
To conclude, though every entrepreneur has his/her journey the path to connect and network for all remains the same. It is these people, these contacts that have the potential to either become your customers, business partners and someday even investors.
Moreover, as easy as it may seem not everyone has the comfort level of meeting strangers and striking the perfect conversation. But learning to do so at an early stage of the business will result in good returns. As a tip- the more you network the less awkward you become and the easier it gets.
So, what are you waiting for register to the next event now and tell us how it benefitted your business and personality.