Many business professionals, educational institutions and other agents of commerce continually stress the importance of networking. This is quite possibly because they foresee, witness, and experience the tremendous benefits that derive from opportunities of connection. Networking is like a good pair of shoes that never goes out of style. Whether you’re just stepping into the field of entrepreneurship or you have been running your business for a long while, it is still the perfect fit that will get you to that next step. No matter where you are on the spectrum of entrepreneurship and business ownership, you have something to gain from connecting with likeminded individuals. Below are our five reasons why you should be networking. Take advantage of them.
Networking is an outlet for information. People attend to both talk and listen. We suggest that while it is imperative that you speak and promote your business in these kind of forums, it is fundamental that you use networking opportunities to soak up as much information as you possibly can. Listen for what’s working in your industry and what pitches and approaches have been unsuccessful. What are the current trends? Which individuals should you be speaking with? What more can you learn? Who is your competition? How can you stand out? There is no limit to the information you can gather at a networking event. At the very least, it is a soundboard to reassure you of your progress, setbacks or need for a little positive and negative information is useful to a growing business.
As a business owner, it is your job to promote your company and increase your clientele. Networking events facilitate this in a way that is less formal and stuffy. There’s no Powerpoint presentation, no folders, and no necessary major pitch. You simply speak about your business and hand out your business cards. It is your key opportunity to be as real as possible without feeling the pressure of having to book a client. You go at your own pace, choose the people you want to talk to, and keep the conversations lighthearted. Entrepreneurs tend to excel at networking due to the natural flow of the conversations. Additionally, you can be more creative in your approach to draw people to you. For example, wear a statement piece (jewelry, shoes, etc.) that is guaranteed to strike up a conversation. Although most networking events are less pressure-filled, it is crucial however, to maintain an objective standard of professionalism as you are still representing your company.
Let’s face it; every business needs resources to contribute to the growth and acceleration of business. Networking provides such opportunities. You are exposed to different individuals who are experts in subjects that you are less familiar with. They may also have capital that your business may benefit from or perhaps you’ve heard they invest in certain kinds of businesses. Your attendance significantly increases your connection potential. Use that opportunity to build and grow. Once you have exposed your business to likeminded individuals who believe in your company and your vision, it can secure a connection that may transform your business for the better.
Tackle unanswered questions
Networking is your “Q and A” forum. If you’re feeling uncertain about your business or perhaps your next step, use networking to share ideas, receive feedback, and alleviate your uncertainty. Additionally, speak specifically with individuals who know more that you and pick their brain.
Building your profile and confidence
Finally, networking is your runway. It is where you strut your stuff so that your colleagues can put a face to your name and you can build your profile. It is always where you go to gain your confidence. Most of the people you are intimidated by are just like you. Find comfort in that. Believe in your ability, believe in your business and be confident.