It’s not what you know – it’s who you know
There is a lot of pressure to get out there and network. But often business owners feel fatigued attending endless networking events, seeing the same faces and being faced with a room full of people who are all there with their own agenda.
Networking events are often mixers for professionals looking to sign up new clients, creating awareness for their brand, and seeking relationships with other people that will benefit them. It can feel like everyone is there to just sell themselves.
When you consider the worth of your time, can giving up some of it for networking feel justified?
Finding people on your wavelength
If you have a hunger to meet business owners that could be facing the same difficulties as you, a networking event is a great base to find like-minded professionals, hungry to learn more.
You don’t have to approach it like a sales floor. It can be a space to share worries and find support, sound out ideas to people with business experience, or strike up relationships that can be mutually beneficial.
Defining what your brand is
Pitching your business helps you hone the company’s mission statement and core goals. You might be surprised by the aspects of your business that you find yourself talking about or what sparks interest in other people. It’s a gentle reminder to yourself of what you are all about.
According to a survey conducted by NowSourcing, 85% of professionals say they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person meetings, so don’t discount the importance of stepping away from your computer to get out there.
Go for it
Some research from the Economist Intelligence Unit found that for 78% of start-ups, networking is vital to entrepreneurial success. So why not give it a go? Here are some top tips that we have found from online research:
- Be curious – ask thoughtful questions and make a good impression by listening to what other people have to say.
- Be yourself – you don’t have to be a walking sales pitch. Keep it casual and share your thoughts, rather than going straight for the hard sell. And smile!
- Be prepared – research who will be attending, and focus your attention on who might be most relevant to you. And always carry some business cards!
Always be ready to network
Ultimately you can network any time from anywhere, from a chance conversation during your work out at the gym, to an online connection via a social media platform like LinkedIn.
Connecting with like-minded people and joining forces with local businesses can give your business access to new resources and strength in numbers. If you get the give and take balance right, the relationship can prosper mutually in the long term.