Posted on: 26/01/2023 by: David Morgan in: SMEs
Networking to many comes naturally but to others it is something they’d rather not do and if you are a business owner who falls into the latter category then this is a problem that needs to be overcome. The alternative is sending someone to represent your business at networking events but will they make the right impression? More importantly you will be missing out on an opportunity because networking is great for both personal and professional development.
During the past three years virtual networking replaced the traditional face-to-face events and for thousands of people new to business this would have been their first experience of any type of networking. This was a great alternative to traditional networking but not a substitute and with networking events becoming more popular than ever, we look at the reasons why you need to put on a brave face, step out of your comfort zone and start networking. As the adage says, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know and that is definitely true when you’ve just launched a new business and your resources are thin on the ground.
Let’s start by looking at the benefits of networking from a personal standpoint
By talking in public and introducing yourself to people on a regular basis you may be surprised how much, and how quickly, your self- confidence improves. This is noticeable in several ways, from the way you communicate to your posture, and is a trait that is admired greatly by others. Having self-confidence is important in all aspects of life and opportunities that avail themselves mean you have the confidence in your ability to seize them.
Improves soft skills
By regularly attending networking events you improve your communication skills. With most events filmed and posted online it is a great chance to see what you are doing well and what needs improving. Along with the new-found confidence mentioned above, you improve your social and interpersonal skills, which are key for personal development.
People often forget that although networking is aimed at businesses you can benefit from forming personal relationships. You can make new friends that you can enjoy downtime with. After all too much work is detrimental to your wellbeing, so having a circle of friends away from work is a great way of relaxing.
You meet so many people from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors that the knowledge you gain can help you with important life decisions. Being open to new ideas and listening to the knowledge of others can help you make decisions to improve personal development. This may be through education, training or practical experience, which all bodes well into making you a more robust individual who can adapt to overcoming challenges in the future.
Now let’s have a look at how networking can help your professional development
By introducing yourself to a room full of fellow networkers you are opening the door to an array of opportunities. From potential investors to business partners and of course, new customers. A strong and diverse network of professional connections offers endless opportunities.
When businesses get together, great things happen. By meeting like-minded professionals you get the chance to share knowledge and this can prove crucial for a startup where there are obvious areas of the business where expertise is lacking. Remember this is a two-way street and by sharing your areas of expertise you are setting the ground for long-lasting business relationships.
Learn from the mistakes of others
You get to meet and talk to people who have probably been in the same position as you are when they started out in business. Listen to their advice and you can avoid making the mistakes they did, which can save you time and money. Conversely, you can find out what they did right, so you make the correct decisions.
Raising brand awareness
The more you network the greater the number of people who will get to know about your business. Tying in with the importance of trust mentioned earlier you can become a leader in your field and you and your business are seen as a go-to brand in your chosen sector. Networking can do more for your brand than advertising and is less expensive too.
One key point to note about networking is that you need to be patient. You have to network regularly and over a long period of time to reap the rewards. People buy from people but they only do so from those they trust. Familiarity is a key component of trust building in any relationship, so the more often you network and the wider your audience, the easier it becomes to accomplish this.
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