On occasion I have heard a business owner say, “I don’t plan on doing any networking.” I shudder to think how much work they will need to put into their business to make up for that lost support. Why do they think this is not a necessary part of business. Remember that well used term the “old boys club”? As long as people have been involved in business they have been getting together to support each other. Belonging to that club is beneficial to accelerating your business.
What is networking?
A lot of people think that it means getting up early in the morning or out in the evening and going to a meeting where everyone is going to try and sell their products to them. If this is what you believe then you could not be more wrong. Networking is a place you go to make connections and build relationships with people that will become integral in the growth and success of your business.
Two types of networking connections
I’m just going to name two types of relationship you can gain from networking
2. Referral partner
This is the best reason to do networking. You are not going to a networking event to sell your product or service, you are going to sell ‘you’. When you make a strong business relationship with another person they will let you into their network and start talking about you and even inviting you to their functions. So what is the benefit?
- They may know your client.
- They may introduce you to other people they know that may your client.
- They may become a joint venture partner or affiliate with you.
- They may have what your client needs and that helps to increase your saleability
- They may even become a client
1. Accountability partner and support
Through networking I was able to get connected to several savvy business people that I can call for support. Some of us even put together a mastermind group with a coach to help us focus on aspects of our business, find strategies and solutions and then stay accountable to our commitments.
I have about 4 people that I call or meet regularly because their business mindset is compelling and it helps me find new ideas. It is a mutual relationship because I hold what they are interested in understanding better, so we share our ideas and help each others businesses grow.
An important apect about this type of networking relationship is having someone to celebrate your big and small accomplishments. We are very hard on ourselves when do don’t get it right, but we forget to acknowledge the successes as often as we should.
One of the big things about this type of networking relationship is having someone to celebrate your big and small accomplishments. We are very hard on ourselves when do don’t get it right, but we forget to acknowledge the successes as often as we should.
The obvious benefits of this relationship is that I can ask any of them, “I need X more clients” and they will offer solutions and even go out of their way to help find me more business, as I would for them. I have even been introduced to an angel investor through a business network referral partner. All I had to do was ask.
Are You Going to Network?
It doesn’t have to be in a structured setting, but it does have to happen. Get out there and meet your fellow business owners, you will be glad you did.