Posted: Fri 24th Mar 2023
Networking is an essential business skill and vital for success, but it can be intimidating. After all, as a young entrepreneur, how do you go about making the relevant connections and engaging with potential customers, partners or mentors?
Fortunately, there are many different ways to build a strong network and the benefits of doing so are far-reaching.
From face-to-face networking events to leveraging online platforms, this blog looks at why networking can be so important to a business owner and how it can help you achieve your business goals.
What is networking in business?
Networking means building and maintaining relationships with other people in your industry, sector or related business. It involves connecting with individuals, both inside and outside your organisation, for the purpose of exchanging valuable advice, information, support and even reassurance.
You can network by attending events and conferences, joining associations, or simply reaching out to people through social media.
Networking is a great way to:
get an insight into different industries
learn about recent industry developments
gain access to opportunities
develop lasting connections with new business contacts
How does it work?
Business networking is all about forming a beneficial relationship with the right people. It's about making connections and getting to know influential people who can become assets to your business.
When it comes to networking, there are a few key things you should keep in mind.
Find a networking platform you can trust: Explore Enterprise Nation and the groups and networking events available. You may also want to use social media platforms or join local business events in your area.
Don't be afraid to reach out: Start conversations with individuals and groups that you think could benefit you or your business, and join networking events either online or in person. Think about who you want to connect with and choose the platform accordingly – for example, if you notice the person is using LinkedIn, get in touch via that same platform.
Make a commitment: Once you've connected, nurture the relationship by committing to a follow-up. For example, maybe you could organise meeting for a coffee, or having an online Zoom chat. If you've met someone online, try to meet them in person or have a one-to-one discussion, or perhaps you could send them a sample of your business's product.
Give as much as you take: Make sure each interaction you have not only benefits you but the person you're connecting with.
Stay organised and keep track of the contacts you make: Create lists of the people and organisations that could help your business grow.
Follow up with those contacts regularly: This will make sure they remember who you are and what you do.
If done correctly, networking can be a great way to get your name and product out there, build valuable long-term relationships, and start to see business growth. It can even help you make long-lasting personal friendships!
Networking with other business owners
Watch this video to learn how to build relationships, find opportunities, meet new customers, and much more.
What are the benefits of networking?
By connecting with other businesses, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and experts in your industry, you can expand your professional support network and gain access to crucial resources.
A key benefit of networking activities is that they open up opportunities for business development: collaborations, joint ventures and new partnerships that could bring more customers and revenue into the fold.
Moreover, by building networks, you can share knowledge with other people and learn from their experiences. Networking can help you stay on top of trends in your industry and create business relationships that could last for years to come.
Benefits of face-to-face networking
Face-to-face networking is a powerful and effective method of forming professional relationships, making meaningful connections, and growing your network. It allows you to interact with people in person and create an environment where trust and understanding can be developed.
This type of networking allows you to showcase your personality and read body language and facial expressions, as well as pick up on subtle clues that may give you insights into the other person's thoughts or intentions.
Additionally, face-to-face networking gives you a chance to ask more detailed questions, gain valuable feedback in real time, and open up conversations about potential collaborations or partnerships.
As such, it is an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs who are looking to gain an edge over their competition.
Benefits of online networking
Online networking has major advantages, helping to expand your business network and make meaningful connections with like-minded professionals. With the rise of technology, it has become easier than ever to connect with people from all around the world in an instant.
With online networking, you can build relationships with people in different countries, establish new contacts, and gain valuable industry insights from experts in their fields.
It can save you time and money by eliminating the need for travel costs and long hours spent in meetings. It also makes it possible to attend several events at once and interact with more people than you would be able to physically meet.
Find out how to get the most out of networking online, and learn tips on how to build online partnerships.
How do I network? What would be effective business networking?
Networking doesn't have to be intimidating or overwhelming. In fact, it can be quite fun if you know how to go about it. After all, it's about building connections and expanding your horizons.
The key is to start small and keep it simple. Begin by attending local social events and conferences that relate to your industry or interests. Bring plenty of business cards so you can make sure to exchange contact information with everyone you meet.
Also, don't forget to follow up with the people you meet after the event – a quick email or phone call can go a long way in maintaining relationships over time. Remember that professional networking is about building relationships rather than just collecting contacts, so take the time to get to know the people you meet and find out what their interests are.
Once you become comfortable with your networking efforts, try branching out a bit further by attending national or international industry or business events. With the right attitude and effort, networking can be an incredibly rewarding experience and a path to significant personal growth.