Effective networking and developing personal relationships are major factors in the growth and success of most any business. Creating a personal connection between the people involved in the transactions builds trust. This especially holds true for service businesses because, in the end, people do business with people — not companies.
Consider these five benefits of business networking and how to implement them into your overall business-building strategy.
- Connections. “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know,” is so true. When you intentionally reach out to fellow entrepreneurs in your local area or profession, you make connections that can benefit all parties for many years. Your connection to one person can open doors to individuals you would otherwise never meet.
- Advice. Being able to reach out to others for advice is priceless. And not just advice about business, but the whole life-in-balance perspective from someone who has more experience than you. And, at some point, you become the go-to person for those less experienced than you, moving everyone forward.
- Opportunities. When you connect with a network you trust, you are exposed to countless opportunities. It could be joint ventures, client leads, speaking events, partnerships…the list goes on. Just beware: to avoid wasting time and money you must evaluate every opportunity to make sure it aligns with your defined business goals and vision.
- Generation of Referrals. This means increased business and revenue for you. These referrals are generally high quality and can be considered pre-qualified leads. They are easy to follow up on and are more likely to lead to a new client because we all prefer to do business with people we know, like and trust.
- Satisfaction. Helping people, whether clients or fellow business owners, is very satisfying. According to the Mayo Clinic website, “stress mounts when job satisfaction falls.” Networking provides everyone involved with problem-solving resources to keep the stress at a minimum while increasing overall satisfaction.
Whether at a MeetUp, a conference, or a chance meeting, a friendly and professional demeanor invites conversation and an opportunity to present you and your business in a good light. Be confident in what you have to offer. After all, it could be just what they’ve been looking for.