Business networking comes with a host of positive benefits. From expanding your connections to learning from the pros in your field, networking plays a vital part in both your personal and business growth.
Kim Baird of Amazing Business outlines nine different ways networking can help you.
Generation of Referrals/Increased Business
Baird describes this as “probably the most obvious benefit” of networking. “The referrals that you get through networking are normally high quality.” Because of this, it makes it easier for you to follow up with these new connections, which often times leads to new business for you.
With each new connection you make, opportunities come along with that exchange. It could be job opportunities or partnerships, or even a chance to be a presenter at an upcoming event. You will find that the more you network, the more doors are opened to you for future ventures. Just be sure to pick and choose the opportunities that best fit your business model. Just because an opportunity is presented to you, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit.
There is a domino effect when you are networking. You may only be meeting one person, but that person’s network becomes secondary connections for you. Baird recommends that you “ask the right questions to find out if the person you are networking with knows who you want to know.”
You will undoubtedly build connections with people who are industry leaders and experts when you network. Listen to these people and ask them questions. Use their experience and stories as a learning opportunity for your own growth. Been wondering whether or not to make a move on something? Ask your expert connections for their advice.
Raising Your Profile
Baird says to make sure you stay visible during your networking. “Regularly attend business and social events that will help to get your face known.” This builds trust as well as a reliable reputation, so when opportunities arise, you will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
The crowd you surround yourself with does have a significant impact on you. Make sure you are “surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting people that help you to grow and thrive as a business owner” when you are networking.
Networking pushes many people out of their comfort zone. It’s why many people shy away from networking at first. But with anything, the more you do it, the better at it you get. While you may be unsure the first few events, you’ll be a networking pro by your third or fourth times.
Satisfaction from Helping Others
“Networking is full of business owners that have problems or issues within their business that need solving,” Baird says. Use your own expertise to assist others who may be in need. This helps strengthen bonds within your circle of networkers.
Your initial goals in networking are likely to build business connections, but surrounding yourself with like-minded people often turns from just business to friendships. This is an added bonus to networking often and networking well. Baird says, “Some of my strongest friendships have been started by networking.”