Business networking is crucial to success. Don’t believe us? With every new person’s hand you shake, you gain another chance to branch out, to heighten brand awareness or form partnerships that accelerate your growth. Nothing beats having a conversation with like-minded business people, investors, mentors, and potential clients. In fact, business networking is so important, that if you haven’t attended a meeting yet, you should. Otherwise, you are missing out!
Networking is an underestimated factor in your business endeavors. So, we are going to give you some reasons why enriching your business network should be part of your strategy.
Benefits of Business Networking
You’ve heard it before, but business is, without a doubt, all about who you know. You could be a genius in your field, but it won’t matter if others are not there to back up that claim or support your dreams. When starting up a new business, finding others to mentor, educate, and assist can relieve some of the stress that comes with your venture.
Leads to New Business
Let’s start with an obvious reason to try business networking. Making new professional connections means more business and more referrals. It’s as simple as that. When other business or industry leaders know your name and what you do, they will gladly tell others about you, too. Sometimes, you will meet new customers just by attending an event. Even walking away with one new contact offers more opportunity than never having gone at all.
When you network regularly, you are meeting and re-meeting people, earning trust and respect, gaining friendships, and boosting the overall reputation of your business. The more people who know your name and your face, the more they will know what you can bring to the table. You can leverage this by building rapport with all kinds of people at a business networking event. Build that clout.
Makes You a Resource
Making others aware of your existence is the first step to becoming a go-to resource for the services and products you offer. Those you have made an impact on will recommend your services. And those who know your name will contact you when they need you.
Provides Insight, Inspiration, and Perspective
Since you will be engaging with people from all walks of life, fields, and educational backgrounds, you are going to meet some unique personalities. Listen to their ideas. Collaborate. Try to gain as much insight as you can from them while offering up opinions of your own. This is important, because business is ever-evolving. The more ideas you are exposed to, the more you can adapt your business to economic changes and trends.
Builds New Friendships
Whenever you get a chance to meet people with similar passions, you get a chance to make new friends. Networking is one of the best ways to make friends as an adult professional. You can also find people who are willing to be your business mentor and teach you valuable lessons.
Gives You Access to Influencers
Another reason you should start business networking is the open door to hundreds of influential people in and around your area. One event could lead to an invitation to larger workshops and seminars where famous minds assemble together. You may leave a meeting with numbers from several esteemed individuals. Since you are making face-to-face connections, you don’t have to play phone tag or worry over outreach emails.
Keeps You Up to Date
The more business networking you do, the more knowledge you gain. All kinds of discussions happen at meetings and events that pertain to the current business climate, trends, news, and even more focused topics, like new technologies. If you attend a seminar, you can get insight from leaders in a specific field or learn new business strategies.
Networking builds your brand and self-awareness. By discussing who you are and what you do with others, you gain valuable skills in presentation. You’ll find that your confidence in speaking about your skills will rapidly increase, and so you’ll be able to showcase your achievements to anyone without any hesitation. Such aplomb elevates your brand’s image, too.
Maintaining Your Business Network
Keeping up with the relationships that you make at events is just as important as starting them. The longer you can maintain the relationships with other business people, the stronger your partnerships will become. The more opportunities you will receive. While it will take some effort, you will be glad that you have people there to help whenever you need it. Here are some ways you can sustain your connections:
Networking goes beyond just showing up. To build a relationship with anyone, you need to communicate in a way that shows how much you value the connection. Whenever you meet with others, make sure that you are bringing something worthwhile to the conversation. Congratulate others as they overcome hurdles or get promoted or introduce a new product, for example. Offer up tidbits of wisdom, too. It will take you far and ensures you aren’t overlooked.
In other words, use some self-awareness while you traverse the world of business networking meetings and seminars. For example, just because there is alcohol served at an event doesn’t mean you should get drunk. And be careful about how you discuss events or post pictures.
Your professional life is going to be impacted by the way you behave in and out of events. While networking is an incredible way to connect with people and maintain relationships, it can also counteract all your work if you do not behave accordingly.
Do Not Burn Bridges
The scenario may seem unlikely, but there is always a chance that someone you wronged (or vice versa) in the past could show up to a business networking meeting. Or your relationship could sour overtime. Keep in mind that, no matter how tempting it may be, that you should maintain politeness and positivity when conducting business matters. Social media is unforgiving these days; burning bridges may come back to haunt you later.
No matter your industry, networking is always an excellent way to connect with other professionals in a range of fields. Together, you can grow your local influence and expand your business and brand to other locations. Not every acquaintance is going to blossom into a business relationship or friendship, but every encounter will teach you something useful.
Business networking is fulfilling and fun. Join us for a meeting today and start growing your network immediately. Check out the SJBA business networking schedule or get in touch to ask us any questions you have. We look forward to meeting you.