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Networking is definitely not a new concept and there are many different forms of networking groups and events. I am not going to get into those individually, but instead I am going to tell you why it is important as an entrepreneur to be networking consistently.
I am sure that you have heard the saying “it’s all about who you know” well, that saying is actually very true. Being an entrepreneur is more than just being a master at your skill – in order to be successful you have to have a steady flow of income and in order for that you have to have a steady flow of clients. There are ways to get clients by advertising and such, but one major way you can get clients is by networking.
There is an incredible value in having great business relationships with other entrepreneurs. Not only do you build your list of trustworthy, referable people, but those business owners may also refer you to people they know. Word of mouth is a huge marketing tactic that doesn’t cost you a thing and you can achieve that by networking.
Another important thing to note about networking is how you do it. You can’t go into networking for selfish reasons only, if you do it solely to better your business then it isn’t going to be as impactful – you have to also be interested and excited about helping other businesses as well and forming relationships with people that are on the same entrepreneurial journey as you. If you go in only expecting to take take take from the experience, people will catch on to that and you will end up having a horrible networking outcome. People who network with each other want to know that forming that relationship will be mutually beneficial.
Networking isn’t only beneficial because of referrals, it is also a major perk in business ownership when you have connections with people who operate at a high standard and can collaborate with you or help you in the future. Say you need to hire a photographer to do your headshots, you can look to your networking pool and see if there is someone there that fits what you need. Collaboration is also a way of networking and a good way to get to know someone else’s skill set and expand your reach.
You will also be opening yourself to fun evenings of chatting, resources and education that will continue to help you grow your knowledge and often times you will be exposed to different places in your area such as restaurants, venues and/or other local business owners which is another great form of networking.
One of the best things about this whole world of networking is finding people who have common interests as you and who go through similar things that you do as an entrepreneur. It takes some of the lonely out of the equation and that is a wonderful thing. But, even large corporations benefit from networking, collaborating and forming relationships with other businesses. It isn’t only for someone who just is starting out and doesn’t know anyone yet. It is for new and well-seasoned professionals because you want to stay innovative and relevant in your industry and a big part of that is going to come from staying connected.
One of my favorite networking groups is one near and dear to my heart. I co-lead a group called Tuesdays Together, which is subsidiary of the national organization The Rising Tide Society. They provide wonderful resources, blogs, and webinars, etc. that are continually educating our members. If you haven’t checked it out in your local area, you definitely should.
Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for an article on Networking Do’s and Don’ts.