As a small business, how much time do you spend a week on building your connections and expanding your network? If the answer is ‘not at all’ then you need to more closely consider what your business is lacking. The truth is that business networking could help you find more opportunities for your future success than you might imagine.
Collaborators and contributors
One of the key reasons that business owners network is that they’re looking for others that they could potentially work with. Collaboration between businesses allows them access to one another’s customer base, giving their brand a whole new platform. But that’s not all it can do. Business owners in good relationships with one another often share referrals with one another, too. The right friends could help you spot those customers that have, until now, evaded your gaze entirely. If you have two businesses that are particularly compatible, you might even want to co-develop a service or a product package with them, helping to open another revenue stream.
Even if you don’t seek anything in particular from those you network with, they are still a valuable asset. First, meeting with insiders is one of the best ways to stay up to date with the trends and developments in the industry. It’s also a good way to find those who have been in it a lot longer than you. Don’t underestimate what you have to potentially learn from others. Similarly, it’s a good idea to have some ideas of your own to share. The best networking relationships involve both give and take.
Finding the best talent
One of the reasons you should be reaching out to industry experts is for their ability to point you in the right direction when you’re looking for a team member. Potential employees who get referrals tend to get fast-tracked because you already have their ability and their reliability vouched for. It’s a good idea not to just rely on employers alone, however. You should be using, for instance, an executive search to find the top players in your industry should you have the need to bring in some serious talent.
(Image by Johnny Magnusson)