Published on Aug 22, 2017
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Networking Business Growth
Networking is a vital skill for business growth and sustainability and it is a skill that any business owner can acquire.
Getting that conversation going and making a connection with other people can be tough. Maybe you are shy, or perhaps you are just busy and feel like you don’t have time to attend a networking function, a conference or even an online forum.
However, small business owners benefit hugely from navigating and acquiring the skill of talking to and striking up relationships with fellow business owners, experts in their field and clients.
How does networking help you?
Building business relationships leads to referrals and may lead to business opportunities to expand your business or become involved in joint ventures.
Importantly, networking keeps you in touch with your industry and can build collaborative networks able to support each other to make the most of industry changes.
Networks are multi-nodal. Each person you make a connection with is part of another network and so on.
You’ll benefit from advice that is tailored to your business, offered by people who share your concerns and who have experience with problems specific to your industry.
You will raise your business profile, generate a level of confidence in yourself and your business and benefit not only from receiving help from others, but being in a position to help others in your business community.
Making the connection:
Establishing a connection with people can be hit and miss, so accept that sometimes no matter how hard you try, you may not be able to make that business relationship happen. That doesn’t mean you should give up at networking altogether. You just need to understand your strengths, be prepared and stay focused on your aims:
- Networking is about relationships, they take time to establish and need effort to maintain. So, don’t head off to your next event expecting to leave with a swag of contacts. Take your time and make genuine connections with those you meet.
- It’s natural to feel some anxiety when establishing business relationships, but you are unlikely to be the only person feeling the pressure. Prepare for each event by listing the problems you are concerned about and follow that with a plan for overcoming them. The next time you find yourself panicking about what to say next, you’ll find you have a ready answer.
- Face to face events are great for making genuine connections in your local area, however don’t limit yourself to networking with people in your area. With a suite of software and apps such as Facebook, Skype and Google that allow you to communicate with people around the globe, you have a multitude of networking options.
- Don’t forget to follow up on your new connections! A quick email is all you need to do.
- Most importantly of all, focus on making a connection, not just on impressing the people you meet. Networking is as much about getting to know other people as it is about spruiking your business.