“If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted” –Francis Bacon
In the coming weeks I hope to share with you the secrets of successful business networking that will help you grow as an aspiring entrepreneur. Week by week I will share advice that will help you getbest out of your business networking efforts.
But before I take you into the nitty gritty elements of business networking, and,before I even start to talk about - The Who, The Where and The How - it is very important that I give you a clear understanding of the “Why”. It is only right and proper that you are fully aware of the truly fantastic benefits that business networking can and will deliver for you. I want you to be totally in the picture of just what effective business networking will do for you as an individual, what it will do for your business, what it will do for your long term career prospects, and how, with a structured business networking strategy, you can look forward to an exciting and highly rewarding future.
There are no downsides to business networking. It genuinely is a gift that keeps on giving, so let’s look closely at the exciting benefits/rewards that lay ahead. · Making New Connections
· Raising Your Professional Profile
· Gaining Business Opportunities
· Better Business Resources
· Obtaining Business Referrals
· Building Increased Self Confidence
· Making New Friendships
· Learning New Business Ideas
· It’s So Cheap… It’s almost free!
· It Makes You Money!
· Business Networking is Fun! Making New Connections:
The phrase “In business it’s who knows you that counts!” is my lifetime motto. It is also the very basis of business networking. You may be the very best on the planet at your particular skill, but if no-one out there knows who you are, and how amazing you are, your potential for success is extremely limited.
Business networking will give you exposure, and more importantly “word of mouth” exposure. From day one new people will get to know who you are, exactly what you do, and how to contact you. The moment you commence your business networking journey is the very moment you will begin building your new world of business connections. And what is even more exciting is that business networking is a genuine two way street. Everyone you connect with will be delighted to meet you because they too will have found a brand new business connection. They can and will tell other people about their new found business connection and the benefit of that one single new connection is that you nowreally do count, because “In business it’s who knows you that counts!” Raising your professional profile:
Business networking will instantly serve to raise your professional profile. Every hand you shake, every business card you give out, every conversation you have will serve to make more and more people aware of exactly who you are and what you specifically do.
The more you apply your business networking strategy to networking meetings and events, and even online platforms, the more your profile is raised amongst the business community. The obvious benefit being that this will bring you enquiries for your services. It will encourage other business owners and other entrepreneurs to come and talk to you about the skills and services you have to offer. Business Opportunities:
It is a fact of life that people in business love to talk business with other people in business. By getting yourself in the mix, by placing yourself at the heart of business networking meetings and events, you place yourself in the enviable position of learning first-hand about new business opportunities on a regular basis. By actively engaging in business networking and regularly congregating with other entrepreneurs and business people you will be putting yourself in the advantageous position of always “being in the know”. Better business resources:
To be successful in business you obviously need buyers. People who will regularly buy your products and services. As important as buyers are, they are only part of the mix. You also need good suppliers and you need sound sources of business wisdom and advice. Within any business networking event you will find all of these resources readily at hand. Within your new found business connections you will be able to define reliable and competitive suppliers for your business. You will also be able to glean advice from other entrepreneurs and business people. Good buyers, good suppliers and good advisers are the recipe for a sound business proposition, and business networking will put each of them at your disposal. As your new business connections get to know you and trust you they will happily begin to pass your name on to their own connections. The referred new potential client already has a degree of trust in you that has been instilled your business connection, and this in turn makes it so much easier for you to convert their enquiry into solid business. This is not an instant benefit but these referrals will come so long as you stick solidly to your business networking strategy. Business referrals:
The business end of business networking is gaining business referrals. There is nothing more satisfying in business than getting that magical phone call out of the blue from a complete stranger who says “You were recommended to me by…” That my friend, is the golden benefit of business networking. That is the reward of the well applied business networking strategy. The end result of all the handshakes, the business card sharing, the conversations with fellow entrepreneurs at networking meetings and events.
As your new business connections get to know you and trust you they will happily begin to pass your name on to their own connections. The referred new potential client already has a degree of trust in you that has been instilled your business connection, and this in turn makes it so much easier for you to convert their enquiry into solid business. This is not an instant benefit but these referrals will come so long as you stick solidly to your business networking strategy.
Initially, business networking can be a daunting experience because at first, the very idea of breaking the ice and talking to complete strangers will seem a bizarre and uncomfortable concept. You will naturally feel uncomfortable, and you will feel very nervous, but fear not, time will and consistency will cure your nerves. Business networking is a learned skill that gets very much easier every time you attend a networking event. Your confidence will grow and you will eventually find yourself talking to total strangers with ease. What is more is that this newly acquired confidence will seep into your everyday business practice. You will then find it so much easier to present your business proposition to potential clients and in doing so you will naturally convert more enquiries into solid business. New friendships:
One of the truly remarkable benefits of business networking is the creation of new friendships that will naturally occur. You will find that a whole new social life will evolve as a result of the new connections you have made on a business level. Many business networking events are built around a semi social event, a breakfast or lunch etc, that it is inevitable that you will find yourself both networking and socialising with the people seated either side of you. That is where unexpected friendships develop. Charles Rolls met Henry Royce at a lunch at the Midland Hotel in Manchester in 1904, and the rest as we know is history. New Ideas:
Business networking events are awash with people with wonderful new ideas. Once you begin engaging in the conversations you will be amazed at the innovative ideas that are out there that will possibly help you with your own business. It could be something new to do with technology or packaging or even business finance ideas. The fact is that you can always pick up some nuggets of advice or information that will help you at some time in your business career. But you have to be there to benefit.
It is so cheap… it is almost free!
A wonderful aspect of business networking is that it is so relatively cheap compared to virtually any other method of promoting your business. In fact, apart from the cost of good business cards (we will cover that later) you can actively business network for free. Chambers of commerce and other networking organisations very often put on “Open Days” to encourage new businesses to come and “try before you buy” as it were. It takes just a few moments to search for networking events on the internet to discover an event near to you.
It makes you money!
And now we come to the most important part. A good business networking strategy will always deliver a sound return on your investment. Applied effectively, your networking strategy will bring you buyers to increase your turnover, and cost effective suppliers to improve your profit margins. Add to that the benefits of good financial advice that will be available to you, and the savings on advertising budgets, it is then clearly evident that a business networking strategy is a sound business investment.
Business Networking Is Fun!
Business networking is, and always should be a fun enterprise. Every single event that you attend will have a social aspect to it, and they are there to be enjoyed. No matter what format the event takes – a business breakfast, a networking lunch, a business seminar or a business dinner, they will all involve an element of socialising and this is what takes the sting out of business networking.
Business networking should never be pressurised, it should always be relaxed and friendly. Of course it is perfectly understandable that you might feel a little clumsy and awkward at the outset, but that will pass and you will soon feel relaxed and at ease in the company of others who are simply looking to make new connections –Just like you!
So there you are, you now have a taste of what is to come. With all those fantastic benefits at your disposal it would be crazy not to jump in feet first and as fast as possible. So shall we get down to the serious business of business networking? Feel free to drop me a line, I’d be delighted to h from you. firstname.lastname@example.org Go forth and shake hands with the world!