07 Sep Networking Benefits For Your Business
Getting out to a networking group meeting is a great way to boost the recognition of your business. Word of mouth is a powerful tool for any business – a simple and effective way to advertise and promote without the hard sales approach.
Networking groups are helpful and constructive to businesses on a number of levels. From introducing you to a new person interested in your business through to building relationships with a company that you require services from. Strong and long lasting links can be created when companies or individuals are all working together with one common goal: to bring each other business. It is also about educating each other on the different products and services available, as well as giving you an insight into a variety of working practices in general.
There is usually a membership or joining fee to be part of a network, but over time your company will reap a return on your investment. Rewards from networking do not come straight away, just like developing a good relationship in your personal life, you have to give the group networking approach time to establish. You have to gain the trust of the other individuals in the room and befriend them.
Usually each of you will take your turn delivering your message about your business to the other members in the group. Once trust has been established between members, this is when the creation of business and working relationships takes place.
You might go into the group looking for a particular product or service sometimes, but on other occasions you may find a company you didn’t realise you needed help from are there to assist you. It is not always about the selling of services or products either, it is more about the exchange of expertise and knowledge.
An individual, for example, could be a specialist in an area of business you are less familiar with. He/she could be of help to you through a process, or assist by giving you some essential advice. Sometimes it is not about going in needing a certain product or service either. Instead it is about you passing on a contact’s details and referring them to another potential customer.
The opportunities presented to members through networking and getting to know other business owners or employees are endless. From the partnerships that are formed through to successful referrals made to other companies. Networkers can also become business mentors for each other as they coach one another on their business journey.
Members often arrange to meet outside of the weekly/monthly meetings and will talk and support each other on a one-to-one basis. One-to-one meetings can generate more business ideas that help create more work and productivity. This good practice is then spoken about in the next meeting which could then snowball into more ideas and work for another member.
Most meetings are structured to give everyone a chance to speak briefly about what they do and what their business can offer. This public speaking/addressing the room is not for everyone, but it can give members more of an idea than what your job title and business card suggests what you are all about. Many people write a script or use examples of their products as props to help their delivery of their speech and also help with any nerves. The inclusion of props and company strap lines or slogans can also help a presentation be remembered and stand out from the rest. It’s all about putting your business in the best possible spotlight for those few minutes.
Many prefer the small introductory approach instead of an uninvited hard sales call that you always receive at the wrong time of the day. This is a more sociable approach to exchanging sales pitches and less intrusive than sales calls or emails. What you also find is that meetings are often organised as a breakfast, lunch or evening event which can just slot nicely into your daily routine. They create working mealtimes that can create some great results. Within smaller businesses they can also replace an in-house meeting or can be fitted into a normal scheduled break.
Why don’t you give the concept a try? Most groups offer the first visit to a network meeting at a visitor’s rate – a one off payment to cover for refreshments and providing a trial run/taster session.
Take up this opportunity to be a visitor and see what networking can do for you. There are many networking benefits and you can start today!
There are local business networks in many areas. The Kettering Business Network is a prime example of a fast growing Business Network that helps many local businesses. Try and Google for your local business network.