Updated: Jun 19, 2019
‘Networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which business people & entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships & to recognise, create or act upon business opportunities, share information & seek potential partners for ventures.’ -Wikipedia
When you say business networking to many people, they immediately think of the old style of networking, men in suits talking about themselves, passing out business cards hoping to find a new client.
But in our fast-changing world, the way in which business is carried out is changing, people buy from people that they ‘Know, Like & Trust’. It doesn’t matter how good your product is, or the service that you offer, if your potential customers or clients don’t trust or like you, they are likely to go & buy from someone else, who may be cheaper or nicer.
And networking is a great way to meet with like minded business owners, get to know them &
begin to like & trust them.
In fact, business networking is increasingly growing in popularity, the amount of business owners who attend groups or events, to network has grown dramatically in the last 5 years.
According to the Harvard Business review ‘In today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more jobs & business opportunities, broader & deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate future advancement & greater status & authority.’
There is a great saying ‘Your Network is your Networth’, you can only build your network by going out & meeting people, networking.
So what are the benefits of networking?
1. Meet like minded people – in business, especially if you are a sole trader, working life can be lonely & you have no one to ask, if you’re not sure you are doing it right. Going out networking puts you in a room full of people, who are where you are or have been there, who not only will support you, but who can just chat business with you.
2. Collaboration – meeting the right people can happen when you are out networking & collaboration is a fantastic way to build & grow your business.
3. People get to know you & chat to you – networking is a great way to meet other people & begin to build that bond. As you get to know each other you can begin to know, like & trust each other & you are much happier to work with these people or recommend them to others.
4. Expand your knowledge – when networking not only do you meet such a variety of
different business owners, who will have a vast amount of knowledge between them to share, but also at most groups or events they have great speakers, giving great knowledge about certain areas in business.
There is so much evidence to prove that networking is worth doing, if you want to build & grow your business, but unless you know how to network effectively & efficiently it will be a waste of your time.
It’s important to learn 3 things before you start networking: -
1. How to network effectively so that you are not just wasting your valuable time.
2. How you can benefit from the event or group you are attending, have a plan.
3. How to feel more comfortable doing it.
So, is networking worth it? That really does depend on you & how you feel about it, but all evidence points to it being very beneficial to your business.