How does networking help your business grow?
Forced ice breakers, repetitive elevator pitches, and stiff meet-and-greets. These networking stereotypes lead many entrepreneurs to skip business socials, conferences, and other events out of fear of feeling awkward, uncomfortable, or out of their element. However, networking with the right approach can be extremely effective and enjoyable, and can eventually become second nature when you do it regularly. So how does networking help your business? Quite simply, it can be the instrumental tool that accelerates your company’s overall growth and success.
Why is networking important for your business?
You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” As a business owner, you may be shaking your head thinking about the amount of knowledge and skills you have had to acquire.
However, there is some merit to this statement.
Who you know is sometimes the ticket to landing a meeting with a promising client, investor, or receiving a much-needed favour at the eleventh hour. Every person you meet also has their own network, which opens up even greater possibilities for becoming introduced or connected to the right people.
Networking is necessary for effective entrepreneurship as it presents opportunities you might not be able to access on your own and it is also an inexpensive and organic way to promote your business.
Types of Business Networking
How to secure your business network begins with understanding the types of business networking opportunities that are available. Networking can come in many forms, but we have compiled a list of popular networking opportunities that can help you begin to expand your connections.
Conferences and Events
Various organizations hold seminars, lectures, luncheons and more that are advertised. Search your local region for upcoming events.
Many industry associations operate networking groups that can help you meet influential people in your sector.
Social networking on platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn, or attending online webinars can be a great way to make connections with people you would otherwise never meet.
Networking at social events can set an informal atmosphere that lets you build relationships in a relaxed, yet effective way.
5 Tips to Achieve Effective Networking
Understanding what business networking is and its benefits is just as important as having the right approach so your networking efforts are effective. Here are 5 tips to achieve effective networking:
- Seek the right people.
Surround yourself with people who will enrich your network. Research who the best people are to network with for your business.
- Be proactive.
Generating conversation for some people can be nerve-racking. A great way to begin networking is by having open-ended questions ready that you can ask people in an informal manner.
- Have a solid pitch polished and ready.
People you meet will ask about your business. Having a seamless 30-second pitch that is clear, well-explained, and sounds natural goes a long way.
- Stay connected.
Once relationships have been established, making an effort to foster these relationships goes a long way. Using online platforms and social media is a great way to maintain relationships.
- Participate in business networking hosted by a startup incubator.
Startup incubators often host free or low-cost networking opportunities that attract the local business community, investors, and other entrepreneurs. It is a fantastic way to meet the right people and stay connected within your local community.