Why Business Networking Is a Key Step for Creating a Successful Company
Running a company can be extremely difficult these days. There are so many different concepts to understand, responsibilities to uphold, and difficulties to traverse as an entrepreneur. It’s a constant learning process that demands your attention at all times, and it’s very easy to be punished by small mistakes that slowly pile up. I
When it comes to building a successful business, it’s essential to have a network. However, this can seem a little vague at first. What exactly is a network? How do you nurture one? And why is it so important to your business’s growth?
So in this article, we’re going to discuss all of these concepts and matters. We’ll be talking about what a network actually is, how it’s used, how to grow your business network, and also why it’s important for your business.
What exactly is business networking?
Even if you have a rough idea of what business networking is, it never hurts to help reinforce those definitions so that you have an easier time understanding its importance.
Business networking is a term that refers to the mutual relationships that you have with other people within your, or another, industry. They don’t have to be involved in every aspect of the industry, but as long as there’s a mutual benefit of maintaining that relationship, it falls under the umbrella of business networking. This means that business networking can include business owners, business suppliers, service providers, other entrepreneurs, and even business mentors. So when we refer to business networking, it usually means building a good relationship with these people and businesses.
These days, business communications can take place in person, and over a variety of platforms and it’s not limited to just trade shows and public events. In fact, business networking doesn’t even need to be professional in the traditional sense. Networking could simply refer to you making a friend in a local coffee shop, or it could mean being introduced to a mutual friend that just happens to offer a product or service that you can take advantage of.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to detach yourself from any traditional ideas of business networking that you might have. Times change and so do communication methods. Where we once might’ve attended a business event, we can now engage with other business owners and industry suppliers digitally. Business networking can occur in the most unlikely of places, so it’s important to look out for opportunities wherever you can find them.
Establishing and growing your business network
For something to grow, it must first be planted. Without that initial contact or starting point, it’s difficult to create a business network. So it’s important for you to have a way to get your foot in the door. It’s a bit like creating new friends when you join a new school or meeting your first co-worker when starting a new job. Sometimes it’s easier if you’re introduced to a business network, but other times, you might need to be the one that initiates a conversation.
First, let’s discuss a few common types of business networking.
- Business events are the most common and most traditional type of business networking. This usually involves attending a public event, a trade show, or even a seminar to help cultivate new relationships with people in the industry. Unless the event has been created solely for networking, you’ll need to initiate conversations with people and try to gather as much information as possible.
- Social business groups can also be a good way to meet new people in the industry. However, the chances of you connecting with like-minded individuals is a bit lower because you don’t need to be qualified in order to join some of these groups. It typically involves platforms such as LinkedIn where you can join a number of large networking groups and communities that supposedly have people from similar industries. However, due to the sheer number of people in these groups, it can be really difficult to distinguish professionals from people who aren’t actually interested in business networking.
- Personal contacts can also be a good way to get your foot in the door. If you have friends or family members that are already in the industry you want to join, then it’s worth speaking to them to create a foundation for your future business interactions. Alternatively, you could be introduced to someone that a friend or family member knows.
- Social media networking works similarly to business groups, but this is more about building your personal brand than your business brand. Social media can be a fantastic platform for advertising your services and having your voice heard. This makes it a brilliant option for business networking because you can find suppliers, other entrepreneurs, and even connect with businesses on a grand scale.
Once you’ve got your way into the industry, you can start growing your contact list and nurturing your business network. Working on these relationships can be tricky as you need to constantly monitor them and engage different people to stay relevant. This can be hard work and will often feel like trying to maintain multiple different friend groups. However, this is for business purposes and you need to keep your eyes fixated on the prize ahead of you.
But what exactly do you do with these connections? How do you use them without annoying others and causing them to break contact with you? What exactly are the benefits of networking like this?
The benefits of a large and stable business network
So you’ve spent a few weeks or even months building business relationships. You’re in multiple business groups, you’ve attended several events, and you’ve made a couple of good friends in the industry that you regularly meet up with. So where do you go from here?
Unfortunately, you can’t just ask people for a favour and just expect them to answer your beck and call. Some people that you’ve met might offer you their services, but do remember that everything needs to be done in an official business manner. This ensures that you can maintain your professional relationship, even if you think that you’ve become good friends. With this in mind, how exactly do you go about “using” these relationships to your advantage when creating a successful business?
For starters, good business relationships can help you find suppliers and service providers. Whether you’re looking for a niche or custom-made product such as a key clamp handrail, or if you need a reliable website designer for your new business, then you can get a recommendation from someone that you know. While most people are content with searching Google for s suppliers or looking up business directories, you might occasionally get access to a great deal if you’re referred to a supplier or vendor from a mutual friend.
And in addition to products and services, you could even be introduced to professionals that can help your business get off the ground. Perhaps you’re looking for a new bookkeeper for your business or maybe you’re searching for a legal expert. While you can always find these specialists on the internet, being referred to one can help you get a much more reliable service and it also expands your business network further.
Lastly, networking can be a fantastic opportunity to get insider knowledge. You’ve probably already experienced this if you’ve spent a bit of time networking. You might have overheard some important industry news that can help you prepare for a future product or trend, or maybe you have a friend in the industry that can share some of the latest news with you. Having insider knowledge can be your key to creating a more successful business. By utilising all of your business networking skills, you’ll have a much easier time evolving your company to fit with various trends.
Networking is a fantastic way to secure your success regardless of the industry you’re in, and it’s an important responsibility of any budding entrepreneur. While it can be time-consuming at first, it gets much easier as you build your network.