Networking has a rather deceivingly simple definition – meeting new people and building relationships in order to create a new business, have a steady supply of one or find customers and clients. But if anything, networking is anything but simple. It’s a maze of names, corporations, dos and don’ts, and meetings of all sorts.
However, it does play a vital role in making your business or career growth, especially for sellers.
An In-Depth Definition of Networking
According to Investopedia, networking is the process of exchanging ideas and information among individuals and groups that share a similar interest. For businesses and entrepreneurs, this often includes seminars, conferences, and trade shows sharing their business ideas, goals, marketing systems, and more.
But that’s not the end.
Networking also refers to creating a relationship between an individual, a group, or a business. This starts with a meeting, exchanging contact information, and constant communication to gain the trust of each other.
If you have built a successful network, you’ll be able to gain benefits such as finding a business partner when you turn into a different business path. You can gain clients and customers for your business as well through referral of your network peers. They may even serve as your clients that you can sell to.
Networking is also a good place for information regarding important events. For example, a group of entrepreneurs are invited to an expo, they can share this information within their network that may include you. You’ll then have a chance of joining the expo, gaining more information and possible network associates, and ultimately grow your business.
Ultimately, networking is the best way of marketing your business, making it popular, as well as earning new customers and followers.
How to Meet New People for Networking
The best way to meet these people is through various business events such as seminars, trader’s expo, conferences, and the likes. Normally, you can gain access to this through local groups you have joined. You can expand your reach by joining Facebook and social media groups – good thing we have the internet now.
After joining these groups, it is important that you engage with them continuously. This is to gain their trust and have a good impression when you finally meet in person.
That being said, meeting in person is essential. Make sure you take the time to meet people, especially business owners you will you can work with.
The Benefits of Networking
But why do some networking? Why do you have to free your time just to attend conventions and seminar when you could use the time to open your business? Here are some of the reasons
Get referrals and contacts – Perhaps the main reason why business pursue networking is to get referrals and meet some potential clients. Meeting new people and creating these relationships can also give you a chance to expand your business, find joint ventures, and possible partnerships.
Knowledge-based from experience – Not only will you meet new people that can eventually help your business, but it’s also easier to gain new knowledge from these like-minded people. They often share knowledge from their experience; therefore, you can guarantee that what you’re learning has worked for others. It can give you an idea about your own marketing system or maybe tweak a few things and make it work for your business.
Raise your personal profile – Once you have acquired contacts, it’s not enough that you just message them from time to time. You can easily gain more trust by showing up to these events and meeting them in person. It raises your personal profile and the more you show up, the more you become a staple in the community.
Stay updated – The businesses community is an ever-changing market. What worked last year may not work today. If you haven’t been keeping up with the trend from these seminars and conventions, you’ll find yourself left behind and wondering why your system isn’t working anymore.
Fixing problems – Business events and networking is also a great way to fix several problems with your business. You might be missing a good bookkeeper, there’s likely a place that you can find in that event that will help you. If there isn’t one at an event, there is a great chance on of your networking contacts can give you a number or a name.
Boosting confidence – By continuing to put yourself in front of the world, you also push yourself outside of your comfort zone. This will then help boost your self-confidence; a must-have when you’re facing a tough industry.
Creating friendships – Networking isn’t just knowing a person and his number in case you need help in the business side of things. This can also create long-lasting and enduring friendships. Since you share the same interests as them, it’s easier to talk and bond. Ultimately, you’ll find a friend you can call if you simply want to chill.
Getting advice and support – New entrepreneurs will find it easier to go through the tough initial phases of business with advice and support from professionals. This is what you can get from networking and coming to these seminars and events.
How to Maximize your Business Networking Game
Here are some tips to maximize your business networking game and gain more benefits for your career or company.
- Use social media. Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are great places to find groups for the same niche. For example, you’ll find lots of food bloggers on Pinterest and Facebook and find some amazing friends near you.
- When you’re in an event, listening will be your best ally. Listen and absorb everything you hear and use it for your own company.
- Find the right business group for you. Most groups have a single aim – be sure that you are working with them to achieve the same goal.
- You don’t have to join all the groups you can find. It’s best that you choose the right business group and then work on creating a relationship with that group. It’s also better if you choose a group that you personally like so it won’t feel like a struggle to keep up with them.
Networking is the best way to make yourself and your company visible – and it’s not really a hard thing to keep up, especially when you’re a sociable person. It may take time before you can establish a strong bond between you and your contacts. But in the long run, it will prove to be beneficial and successful for your business.