We’ve all heard it before, because it certainly is not a secret of any kind –it’s not what you know but who you know that will get you ahead. Your mother probably told you this in some form or another, your professors probably told you this, and your professional mentors (if you are fortunate enough to have one) has most likely shared this with you as well. They all echo each other on this sentiment because it rings true, no matter how you slice it.
As a small business owner, or really any kind of business professional, you need to get yourself out there and find the best people to know. It’s the only way the business world moves forward. By getting out there and rubbing elbows with other business owners or business professionals, you are doing a lot more than just having pleasant conversations over cocktails with likeminded people –you are planting seeds that eventually will bear some pretty important fruit down the road for you and your business.
Here are 4 Reasons why networking is so crucial for your business.
It’s Easy Marketing that Generates Leads and Opportunities for You as well as Others.
By getting into events that other business professionals are also going to be at, be it a chamber of commerce sponsored cocktail hour or just a local business convention, by just being there and presenting yourself as the face of your business you are advertising your services to the people that will potentially become some very valuable clients for you.
Your presence –whether it be a booth that is elegantly and dramatically announcing what it is that your business does, or you just simply introducing yourself and your business during conversations—is enough to get the word out there in an infectious way. You could spend a lot of money on marketing for your business through a commercial or online banners and such, but focusing on interacting with businesses closest to your own is a great way to become a part of a community that all helps and interact with each other. This all can start by you just introducing yourself and briefly describing what your business can do, be it right now or in the near-future.
Bridges are Built that Benefit You in the Long-Run.
Helping others is great, but in the business world, helping others is really helping yourself –but in the most positive way possible. Whether your business is sponsoring a local event or you are collaborating with a business on a project together, you are creating bridges that showcase who your business is and what it really can do.
Interacting in events like local community outreach events (like designing and creating the local softball team’s new uniforms if you are a graphic design boutique) or collaborating with another business (like redesigning the website of a local politicians office if you are a New York company offering SEO Marketing Services) are just a few examples of local networking, and local networking is crucial because with just a little bit of effort you are showcasing your businesses potential. These opportunities create bridges that in the short term benefit others but in the long run benefit you to the fullest.
Opportunities to Learn from the Best.
By interacting with other likeminded professionals at networking events, you are doing more than just creating deals in the future and here-and-now. While you converse and interact with others who have been in the game longer than you have, you are entering a position that can allow you to learn from the people who have been where you are, and made mistakes where you might make mistakes too, so learn all you can so that you can avoid the pitfalls that they fell into when just starting out. In other words, don’t pass up the opportunity to learn all you can from those more experienced than you.
There is always someone who knows more than you do, and when networking face to face, it’s your duty to find that person. By asking the right questions and sharing your own experiences, you can find out what kind of errors can be avoided, and even share some things that you know that your source of information doesn’t. Creating a relationship is great here because the more you learn about how you can be better at what you do, the more success you will find for your business in the long run.
Creates Chances to Explain Exactly What You Can Do.
Networking events can be intimidating, to be sure, but they are a vital part of establishing yourself as a business, especially to a local area. Many times, marketing your business to the general public falls upon deaf ears. That happens because not everyone who learns about your business has a need for it, and sometimes those that do need to hear about your business are not in the places that you targeted your marketing efforts. What both sides need, those that need your business and those that don’t, is to find out everything that your business can do for them, chances are that at least one of the many things your business can do and do well can help them in some manner, and by networking face to face you can tell everything there is to know.
“Networking, either in person or in the digital world is crucial because it provides you the chance to learn everything there is to know about how to assist each other in finding success” says Marcus Becker, CEO of MimvSEO. “You will find success much faster when you get there with help, and that happens through intentional and consistent networking.”
So get out there, and don’t be afraid to learn all that you can from like-minded professionals as well as to make partnerships. You never know which partnership will take you both all the way to success.