02 Jan The Value of Networking
Do you network?
Does the word fill you with fear? Are you a refreshments table lurker or are you the life and soul of the ‘party’?
For some, networking is something to be avoided at all costs; bringing as much enjoyment as a trip to the dentist. However, for some; (generally people who are natural extroverts), they are at their most comfortable when in a room with a captive audience and given the opportunity to talk about their endeavours.
Which are you?
Whether you enjoy it or not, networking has proven to be beneficial, especially to small businesses, as it increases the reach and awareness of businesses, who may not necessarily have a clear route to market, or a super-visible product or service. For example, if you don’t have a high street presence and your social media isn’t boosted every other minute, how else do you tell people that you exist? Networking can be a time and cost-efficient alternative to other, more traditional methods of reaching out; such as radio and media advertising, leafleting and other more direct methods such as door to door promotion.
Networking can provide you with a fantastic support function, especially if you’re relatively new to navigating the world of business ownership. How many times have you called upon your network for informal advice on your latest challenge?
Networking can also provide a great source of inspiration if you are the kind of person who is inspired by the achievements of others. Surround yourself with fellow business owners for maximum opportunity to develop your skills and your network.
Talking of skills, networking can also bring with it plenty of opportunity for education; both informal and formal. If you are already networking, do you attend a business network or an education community? Both are worth looking into for your specific field of expertise.
Finally, networking of course can deliver strong leads for new customers, directly to you. This is often the direct result of you taking the time to get to know your network, understand their needs and sometimes even tailor your offering to meet these needs. In a way you could see this as added opportunities for customer research and analysis.
So whatever you may think of networking, even if the word does fill you with a little fear, keep on networking; your business will thank you for it!