As an entrepreneur, networking is a key activity that can not only be enjoyable, but critical to your personal growth and business development. Small businesses thrive when they are able to grow together and build relationships. Networking is a valuable tool to give small businesses the most opportunities possible in order to thrive.
Building a successful small business takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s good to have a network of friends and associates to draw support from and help grow your business. By surrounding yourself with people who share a similar drive and ambition, you are more likely to move forward as a business and as a group. From attending events at your local Chamber of Commerce to reaching out on social media to business owners with similar industry focuses as yours – the more you network, the more you will put your business on the map.
1. Shared Knowledge
Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge. Whether it’s asking for feedback or discussing your point of view, it will help you expand your knowledge and allow you to see things from another perspective.
It is also likely that within a group there will be those who have already been where you are today. This provides you with an opportunity to learn from their experiences and avoid some of the pitfalls they may have encountered along the way.
It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities that wouldn’t come along otherwise, whether it’s a referral, a potential partnership or a request for your product or service. The thing you will not know is when or how they will materialize. It’s important to be open to any possibilities and ready to seize opportunities when they come along.
Remember that you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room - you are hopefully building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, you are likely to get a referral as long as you made a good impression.
This kind of relationship is a two-way street as well. If someone in your network matches a business you encounter at an event, don’t hesitate to share their details. It will only strengthen your relationship and solidify your reputation as a reliable partner and good networking connection to have.
In connecting colleagues, it is always a good idea to confirm your network’s wishes. Always ask your colleagues if they are comfortable with you sharing their information. Not only is it a good practice in transparency, but it is also a tool for regularly engaging your network to stay connected.
4. Increased Confidence
Networking and encouraging yourself to talk to people you don’t know may help increase your confidence. This is an important attribute as a business owner, because your business growth is dependent on engaging people and making connections.
5. Raising Your Profile
Being good at what you do and delivering on your clients’ needs is the first step to important networking – people will hold on to the positive experience they received working with your business. Having a base of consistent, high-quality business performance will naturally lend itself to raising your profile and expanding a network of people with whom you have a strong level of trust and a mutually beneficial relationship.
Visibility and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognize you, your brand and the product or service you provide. This can you help to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more leads and referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they need what you offer.
If you're interested in learning more about networking or any other aspects of small business ownership and success, contact Seacoast Bank for resources that will help you dive deeper into how to launch, nurture and grow a successful small business in the state of Florida.