Business networking is important for business owners and entrepreneurs of any size of business. Of course, as your business and recruitment grow, it is unlikely that you as the owner will network for new business.
Yet, there are still benefits to networking even for those at the very top.
Here are six reasons why business networking is important for all entrepreneurs.
Networking helps you find new business opportunities
Getting to know other business professionals can lead to all sorts of opportunities.
Typically, networking allows people to grow their career prospects but as business owners, building relationships may give your business the chance to break into new markets or collaborate with other brands. In this way, you can boost your business’ image, increase sales, or even create new branches to your business.
An example of how networking can inspire new opportunities happened around one of our TAB Advisory boards.
Two business owners, Rob Watson and Holly Daulby met through TAB in the East Midlands and have now decided to work together on the launch of a new online antiques marketplace.
Through collaborating, these two business professionals knew they could trust one another. Holly said “I knew from personal experience that, with TAB behind him, Rob would have the clear business plan and the backing he’d need to get Antiques Boutique off the ground and we were delighted Honest could help.”
Networking is important as it is a good way to combat loneliness in business.
Every business owner knows running a business is a lonely place to be. Even if you run a decent sized business, it’s isolating being at the top. You’re on your own in a lot of the strategic thinking and decision-making.
By regularly attending networking events, you can form real-world connections and a community. Not only can they lead to sales and business links, but you can meet like-minded people who help one another. Not only that but hearing others’ experiences can inspire new ideas for you and your business.
Get ROI through building valuable connections
Of course, a big benefit of networking is building business connections. Forming long-term relationships with potential customers can be crucial to the success of your business.
Knowing how to be successful at networking is key to building these valuable connections. People tend to only do business with people they trust.
Trust is the key to any relationship, was the best piece of business advice Bob Dodge, a TAB facilitator in Denver, US received.
I have come to appreciate how central trust is in any relationship. That trust is equal to one’s reliability, plus credibility, plus intimacy divided by one’s self-interest. The best advice I was ever given in this regard is that “No one cares how much you know as much as they want to know how much you care!”
Building good, trustworthy connections from networking often leads to a return of investment in the form of sales and customer loyalty. These are relationships you may never have had if you didn’t invest time and money into business networking.
Entrepreneurs build referral networks through networking
Building an active referral network involves relationship building. Networking events and activities are often the catalyst to those relationships. Referrers will only refer prospects to businesses they know, like and trust.
The more people you can meet and build up that rapport with, the more likely your business is to get referrals. Referral marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to build your business and networking plays a big part in that strategy. So it’s important that you don’t go for a hard sell. Just because a particular connection isn’t interested in your product or service, it doesn’t mean they don’t know people who might be.
A chance to help others
As already mentioned, networking is all about building trust.
It is important for entrepreneurs to network because it is a chance to help other people. It might be referring someone or doing another business owner a favour. While this might not give immediate results for your business, by incorporating kindness and generosity into your business relationships will put you in a healthier position for recommendations in the future.
Plus, your behaviour reflects the values of your business and therefore improves brand perception and loyalty.
Building Brand awareness
This feels an obvious one, but it bears repeating. Networking increases the awareness and visibility of your business!
Increasing customer touchpoints with your business is imperative to getting people to consider your brand.
According to this article from Forbes, networking can build brand awareness by garnering the attention of business professionals, positioning yourself for business growth and to help others in the future.
If you’re a new business owner or if you’ve been in the game a while, business networking is important for your business. Harbouring good, healthy business connections can benefit your business and your own personal, leadership development in more ways than you might realise.
Get out there and network!