The importance of networking in business
Networking is an essential part of business (whether you enjoy it or not). It’s all about building your business by developing mutually beneficial relationships. Spending time on building a relationship could deliver results in the future; people do business with those they like and trust.
It’s a chance for you to raise your profile as well as that of your business, rather than waiting for people to find you; there’s every chance you’ll meet a useful contact or a prospective client. Make sure you spot opportunities at your event; you’ll want to spend time asking questions about the person you are talking to and their business, to try to see whether they have any requirements that you can help with.
Come prepared and be a master in your field. Most importantly, be nice!
Coming from an introvert, the thought of networking scares me. A LOT. ‘What do I do when I get there?’, ‘How do I approach someone?’, ‘What about awkward silences?’… I can feel my heart rate rising already.
What can you do to make it more enjoyable (and less scary)? Bring a colleague, friend or family member (who knows, they might benefit from the event too). Attend networking events in locations you’ll feel comfortable in, with a relaxed setting (big bright halls do not scream ‘inviting to me’). Select a preferred time of day that you know you’ll be in the right frame of mind, and lastly, pick events specific to your sector to attract like minded individuals and avoid wasting your precious time. The ‘Meetup’ App is great for finding a networking event to suit; they also help it to feel more social rather than just networking. Bonus!
I recently pushed myself (way) out of my comfort zone by purchasing a stand at the Biz Expo at Madejeski Stadium in Reading to promote my web and app design business.
I was petrified but I knew I had to do it. I asked my VA Sarah (who also happens to be a close friend of mine of over 20 years) to join me and we turned it into a fun day together rather than a scary event. I won’t lie, even having the support with me, my Fitbit recorded a rise in my heart rate every time questions were fired at me! But by the end of the day I walked away with a handful of business cards, a potential list of new clients and leads, and a lot more confidence!
Since then I have signed up for and attended more events. If I can do it, you can too!
So make networking less about stress, and more about success! (and have a little bit of fun along the way too!). Lastly always look for something positive to take home from the event – it’s called the ‘AH-HA’ moment!