Networking Is A Skill
A common misconception is people think networking is only important if you are searching for a job. This, however, is not true. Networking is an essential skill for business owners and leaders. According to the Harvard Business Review, business owners and leaders must accept that "networking is one of the most important requirements of their leadership roles."
In addition, statistics have highlighted that only one-third of small business will survive past 10 years of business. This is usually because of insufficient cash flow and/or failure to meet market needs. Networking isn't a direct solution to those problems. However, meeting the right people can lead to advisors, customers, strategic insights, or public relations for your business. Here's more about how we believe networking can help you.
1.Get Additional Leads For Your Business
Networking gives you the opportunity to connect with influential people. You might not normally meet these people in your daily schedule. This can lead to new business leads, or even advisors, investors, or potential business partners. Over time, some of these contacts can put you into contact with other contacts. This will help to multiply the impact of your initial networking efforts.
However, one must remember to be professional when following up on leads. This is indeed a good opportunity to acquire a goldmine of lead. However, being too pushy might be detrimental to your business. This could create a negative impression of your company which could spread throughout the network.
2.Learn From Others By Building Your Knowledge Base
Most small business owners do not start off as experts, so networking is also good opportunity to learn from more experienced industry leaders. They can share advice on the do's and don'ts in your industry. This allows you to broaden your knowledge and get an outside perspective of the industry. When you encounter difficulties in your business, you may even be able to count on this professional network for advice.
Steve Jackon, CEO of Hungry Howie’s credited the opening of the second location of the one store brand of Hungry Howie’s pizza by connecting with his former employer who wanted to grow his one-location pizza brand. To date, Hungry Howie’s pizza has almost 600 locations in 21 states. Steve said that without the original connection, this event would not have occurred.
Even for experienced small business owners, networking allows you to be updated on the latest business trends. These unique insights can give you an edge over your competitors by giving you a new understanding of the industry.
3.Build Your Public Relations: PR For You = PR For Your Business
Being a small business, local recognition is important. You need to be visible and noticed in the local community. This will allow them to know about you. Through regular networking sessions, you can build up awareness for both your business and you. With time, people will recognize you as a reliable and capable person if you are able to give tips and advice on how your business can help them.
Being familiar with the local business community will also mean you will they will think of you if they need what your business offers. This will in turn generate more business leads and opportunities.
What are you waiting for? Start networking now. You can search for networks through LinkedIn and attend local business networking events using Meetup. For business owners residing in New York and is in the food industry, you can visit Slow Money, Pfizer Pfolk and Food+Tech for more information on networking session near you.
Be bold and reach out to your fellow working professionals around you today.