Business networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial connection with another organisation, entrepreneur or even potential clients. Business networking brings intangible benefits because it encourages professionals from the same industry or relating sectors to communicate and exchange experience and knowledge.
Establishing connections in business is a useful resource to achieve professional success and develop a thriving venture. A good network can provide leads, advancement possibilities, business improvement opportunities, and sales. To reap the benefits of a business network, entrepreneurs need to identify the rewards this strategy provides and tactics they must employ to boost sales and efficiency. But first, let’s figure out what business networking is.
Business networking is a phrase used to define the connection between organisations, entrepreneurs, potential suppliers, and other professionals who have similar business experiences that can support each other to grow their businesses. Networking connects entrepreneurs with a pool of experts and allows them to offer something to them, hopefully in exchange for their connections, knowledge, advice, or services. Establishing relationships with other businesses and assisting them brings more clients, generates referrals, facilitates expansion, and identifies opportunities for partnerships.
Why is business networking important?
When done right, it allows you to create awareness of your brand in the industry and keep abreast of the newest technologies. It can also connect you with professional mentors or experts that can assist you with the problems your organisation is facing.
For example, if you need the services of a marketing specialist, you can find the ideal expert through your network. Supposing you need funds to develop a new product, you may find an investor through your channel.
Business networking is the ideal way to expand your knowledge and take advantage of others prior experience. Small businesses get the most benefits when they grow a professional network because they rely on word-of-mouth marketing to attract leads. Studies show that almost 80% of start-ups find networking essential for their business success. If you don’t take the time to connect and communicate with people working in your field, you can miss valuable opportunities, clients, referrals and possible partnerships.
What business networking strategies should you use in 2021?
Make a networking goal and do your best to stick to it
Use your local chamber of commerce website, Facebook events, industry associations and any other available mean to find networking events in your industry. Attend all these events, regardless of how busy you think you’d be on the day of the event. Keep an eye on upcoming events because they help you connect with people who may be interested in your business. Match Alliance B2B Networking is a service many companies use to grow partnerships with experts in their field because it facilitates interactions. The trick is to identify the solution that can help you grow your network. Establish several events you want to attend monthly and stick to it.
Establish what your objectives and target audience are
If you’re in the early stages of your business, you’re probably fumbling with obtaining leads and networking. But to get here, you created a business plan and marketing plan, so why not have the same approach with networking? Create a strategic plan of how to build connections, outline your objectives, determine what your target networking audience is, the type of events you prefer, and the budget you can spend on achieving your goals.
Every entrepreneur should create a networking plan because it helps them navigate through a new environment without losing their goals and purpose.
Network with your possible clients
To connect with your audience and draw their attention towards your brand, you need to put yourself where they are, whether that means networking in person at events or trade shows or hosting virtual events on social media and online forums. No matter the mean you choose, connect with your clients to find out what they expect from your business and what their pain points are when it comes to your products. It helps you better design your services and serves your public.
Connect on non-business topics
It’s easier to build a network when you connect with experts on a deeper level because it allows you to reach to them as individuals and not business people. Most successful business partnerships begin with people connecting over topics that aren’t work-related, like hobbies. Even when you attend a business event, you shouldn’t break into conversation speaking about business, but rather ask the people you just met what books they read, what they do in their spare time, share with them what you like to do to stay busy. Tell them what you’re passionate about.
When you establish common ground, it’s easier to build a connection and engage in corporate conversations. Focus on building a friendship instead of a business connection, so people to feel willing to help you when you face difficulties. Also, when you share common ground, you feel more comfortable to ask for support, and they’re happy to offer their knowledge in return.
Stay in touch
Following up is vital in business networking. Gmail allows you to schedule emails so you can reach your connections regularly. If you just met someone you would like to connect with, email them to ask how they’re doing and find a way to meet again. Ask them to grab lunch one day when your schedules free up. Scheduling emails to reach to your possible connections frees your time.
You can also use LinkedIn to stay in touch with your network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, register now, it takes less than half an hour and grows your network instantly.
When starting a business, you may be so busy with organising everything you feel you don’t have time to network with other entrepreneurs. You think you can’t go out with your friends, have a run in the park in the morning, or attend networking events. But if you use a calendar, you can sneak in a networking event and plan your other activities around it. Be strategic when it comes to network meetings, and treat them as a business meeting because they can translate in many benefits for your venture.