Networking. It’s what we small businesses do or most of us anyway. Love it or hate it, it’s part of our business landscape and for my part, I think that it is really a “must-do.” Here’s why:
- Networking provides you with one of the most personal, direct and immediate ways to build your business whether you are meeting potential clients or referral sources and it helps you to stay visible, relevant and connected.
- In the big scheme of things it is truly an incredibly inexpensive way to generate business especially compared to other methods such as direct mail, advertising, telemarketing and other marketing tools.
- One of the best things that you can do for your business is to position yourself as a connector and by that I mean someone that regularly makes introductions and puts people together. In order to be a connector you need to have a lot of contacts in all categories of business. Networking is a terrific way to grow your database of contacts.
- Through networking you are meeting people that you can use as resources for your clients. You want your clients to view you as their “go-to” person regardless of what they need. Networking provides you with the ability to meet these resources.
- Networking is quantifiable. You can track where you are getting your best return on your networking time and dollar and spend both accordingly.
- You may be conspicuous by your absence or your competition is out networking in all of the places where you should be visible.
- Networking enables you to “soften” the peaks and valleys that can often occur in business development. Even if you are very busy executing the work you can still find time to attend a networking event or meeting and hence keep your referrals flowing.
- It’s fun. If you select your groups and events carefully and don’t burn yourself out by going to too many things you’ll find that you develop some good relationships and have fun too.
What about you? Are you doing enough networking and how is it working for you? Remember that networking must be done strategically in order to bear fruit but if you take the time you’ll reap the rewards.