Business networking is a tactic used by professionals to form relationships with potential clients, make new connections, and expand their businesses.
Aside from these things, what else would one gain from networking?
According to experts, the following are the benefits of business networking:
To build new relationships and strengthen existing ones
Millions of people in corporate America think that making a career move boils down to one thing: networking. Networking means interacting with people to exchange information or services, specifically to form business relationships.
Relationships—isn’t it funny how that part of the definition seems to be missing from most networking events? That’s because people who attend networking events are almost always looking out for themselves.
Here’s a crazy thought for you: Never again attend another boring, stuffy networking event in your life. They’re a waste of time.
Instead, focus on genuine connection with people. Build new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
Make a list of people you know
You’ll be amazed how many people you’re already connected with. I’m old school, so I recommend getting out a piece of paper and creating three columns: Close friends, family, and acquaintances. These are the people you’re going to reach out to.
Be clear when asking
What is it you’d like help with? What’s the reason you’re reaching out to this person. Write it down and be ready to communicate it. What you’re doing is creating a web of connections.
Like a spider, you’re catching connections that can help you eat.
Get in touch with the people you wrote down
The next step is to get in touch with the people you wrote down and create new connections. Remember, when it comes to landing your dream job, it’s not just about who you know; it’s also about who they know.
Ask your current friends and colleagues if they can connect you to anyone who can help you get one step closer to what you want.
Now you’re smiling and dialing! Call up your immediate friends, and their friends, and their friends. Say to them, “Here’s the deal. I’m looking for __. Who do you know that you could connect me to?”
There’s an important term in sociology called weak ties. It refers to people who aren’t in your immediate circle—but they’re connected to the people you do know. Think of these people as your future allies on your job hunt.
Weak ties are great for helping you find your next move because they open you up to opportunities that you don’t currently have. Be aggressive—but not obnoxious—with this process.
You might feel like an inconvenience to someone when you ask for connections. But put yourself in their shoes.
If someone that you cared about came to you asking for help, you’d do everything in your power to make connections. Set aside your pride and just ask.
Another reason not to waste time at “networking events.” They’re not set up to truly know a person. Instead, focus on the individual, quality time, and genuine conversation that will benefit both you and your new acquaintance.
Ask for a quick connect, coffee, lunch, or after-work meet-up. Come with questions.
- How did you get your job?
- Did you need a degree?
- What advice do you have for me?
- What does it look like to be successful in what you do?
- What are your favorite and least favorite things about your job?
- Who else should I meet?
No one is sitting around wondering how they can help you get your dream job. It’s up to you to follow up and make things happen. Thank them! Send an email, a text, or a note within 24-hours of your meeting.
Gratitude goes a long way in making this process enjoyable—both for you and for your connection.
Building a web of connections takes time. But I guarantee that if you’re persistent with the process I’ve laid out for you, it will work.
Think of it this way: Your dream job is behind a door of opportunity. You can’t force the door open, but you can knock. Keep knocking, and the right door will open at just the right moment.
Alison Torrillo French
Managing Director, Alto Solutions, LLC
Outside connections could be fostered
As a small business owner in the Washington, DC, area who worked from home long before the pandemic, I often found it challenging to maintain connections and see all the people I wanted.
So, four years ago, I took what was, at the time, a very small step to change this.
A simple email inviting all of my DC-based contacts to join me for a glass of wine one Friday afternoon has now transformed my networking into a circle of more than 200 professionals (and growing) from varying industries, all connected within two degrees and by an abundance mindset and a desire to help one another.
It started back in 2018 when I felt like I was never able to see all the people I wanted, so I sent out a big email telling everyone local in my address book that I’d be at such-and-such venue enjoying a glass of wine at a specific Friday afternoon (which happened to be the third Friday of the month) and that I would love for whoever was free to join me.
Almost immediately, a colleague reached out and connected me to a restaurant owner in town who was willing to host us during the “off-time” between when his staff arrived to set up and when dinner guests started to come in. Thus was born the “3rd Friday Networking Group.”
From then on, every third Friday of the month, between 3-5 pm, an informal and eclectic group began to gather. While there were many repeat attendees, the composition of the group was never the same two months in a row.
We had small business owners and consultants like myself, along with freelance writers, graphic artists, Federal employees, consultants in larger firms, and even a photographer.
In some cases, the only thing folks initially had in common was their connection to me, but we quickly learned how many other connections could be fostered, some of which was rather unexpected.
This continued until the pandemic, when we pivoted to a virtual approach. True, we couldn’t see one another in person, but we found that meeting up over Zoom on a Friday afternoon with our favorite beverage was a lovely way to wrap up the week.
An unanticipated benefit was that connections who had difficulty attending the in-person events in Northern Virginia were now able to participate more actively.
Something else this group has become over time is a way to promote a mindset of abundance (a “making the pie bigger” philosophy) by sharing opportunities.
When a member of the group has an opportunity for work, part- or full-time, consulting, or permanent hire, they share it with me, and I distribute it to the larger group; I always send it as bcc and consider myself to be the sharer of information, not the matchmaker.
If someone sees an opportunity of interest, they are usually able to reach out directly to the POC. Sometimes I also share resources or links to interesting articles as well.
Some of the wonderful things coming out of this group are:
- Helping people find new contracts, part-time, and full-time opportunities for themselves or for others in their network.
- Sharing tools, resources, and best practices — including many that helped members get through the challenges brought about by COVID.
- Spreading the word about important initiatives, such as an effort right now to hire Ukrainian freelancers.
- Fostering connections among one another to make the world feel safer and more joyous — which, in turn, makes us more productive in our work and lives.
To me, that last one is the most significant benefit of networking, especially in these turbulent times when the only thing we can be certain that will occur is change.
It also goes to show that, while formal networking can be great, informal networking like this can be just as effective.
We don’t all need to be in the same industry to have something in common, and even if we don’t regularly connect, just knowing we have others in our corner, willing to help and support us is a huge motivator. And to think it all started with a glass of wine and an email.
Executive Coach and Career Change Coach
It’s a way to stay connected and up-to-date in your field
As a career development coach, I work with people at a career crossroads who are looking for meaningful work. For some, the journey is unexpectedly long and winding.
Once they’ve secured an offer, I always ask, “What’s the one thing you’ve learned from your job search experience that you want to remember should it ever happen again.”
By a landslide, the number one response I get is, “I wish I would’ve been networking all along.”
Business networking is at the core of a job search strategy, as most people find jobs through referrals. But it’s also essential for career growth as a way to stay connected and up-to-date in your field and find champions who can help you advance.
The good news is it’s never too late to build a network, even for those who consider themselves introverts. It starts by connecting with one person at a time.
LinkedIn is a great resource for adding to your connections and looking for common points of interest, like schools or places of employment. Joining professional groups, alumni associations, or attending industry events are also excellent ways to grow the circle of people you know.
In the modern work environment, where companies are often restructuring and outsourcing, the savvy business professional knows they have to be nimble, as job security is not something to count on.
Create a framework to start building your network. Commit to reaching out to two people each month by nurturing one relationship you already have and finding a new person you’d like to meet.
My motto is, “It’s not who you know, but who you can know.”
Founder and Job Search Skills Coach, Campus to Career
Of course, there are many benefits to business networking. I’ll focus on how networking can help you land your next job.
When thinking about your next job, know these two things:
Employers like to hire people they know, like, and trust
People like to hire people they know, people they like, and people they trust. So, believe it or not, just schmoozing with someone for a few minutes can escalate you to the top of the heap when applying for a job at their company.
More than 75% of jobs are found via networking
To set yourself up for future job search success, set aside time to connect with one or two relevant professionals each week. Here are some meaningful and thoughtful reasons to reach out to the professionals in your network:
- Share a recent article about their company, the competition, or best industry practices.
- Invite someone to hear an online on in-person speaker talking about something relevant to their business or industry.
- Introduce two professionals to one another whom you think will benefit from getting to know each other.
- Making introductions is the holy grail of networking. Because if you happen to connect someone to a new client prospect or time-saving resource, then they will remember this heroic deed forever.
- If appropriate, ask to set up a call with them to get their opinion or share their expertise on a matter. In general, people like to help others, and they like to be valued as thought leaders on particular topics.
- Don’t just reach out once and drop off the face of the earth.
- Building rapport with relevant professionals takes time and effort. After your first call or interaction, mark your calendar to re-connect with them every few weeks or months, depending upon the urgency of your job search.
If you love your current job now, then that’s great. But the love may not last forever, or even worse, you may find yourself in dire straits due to layoffs.
Invest in networking as your insurance policy to feel confident your network will eagerly want to help you land your next job when needed.
CEO and Founder, Engineering Design Group
Like most things in business, networks are about people and not just the people you’ve known for years. There’s a benefit to both maintaining your existing business relationships and building new ones.
Maintaining your existing relationships
Just because you’re leaving a group doesn’t mean you have to leave the relationships you’ve built there behind. Stay connected with the people you worked with.
Whether you’re moving up in your career or moving on from a social group, you can still maintain a personal relationship with the people you know.
Before you go, let them know that you’ll be checking in with them and that you’d appreciate them doing the same. Then, follow through. There’s always a chance you could cross paths again — perhaps as coworkers, or perhaps as friends who help each other out.
You’ve already put in the work creating those relationships, so let them build over time and benefit you both.
Building new relationships
Social media networking
Just as maintaining relationships can help you out in the long run, so can meeting new people.
On social media sites such as LinkedIn or Slack, you can join workspaces relevant to your interests, providing you with an opportunity to find a community of like-minded individuals.
If you follow people who post high-quality content that interests you and you engage with the author, you may be surprised who you end up crossing paths with.
Since you can meet people based on specific interests and skills, you’ll end up with some extremely valuable connections.
In fact, I met our CTO and co-founder through LinkedIn, and after keeping in touch for a year, we ended up joining forces to start Engineering Design Group.
In-person events and friends of friends can also contribute to your network. Meeting someone face to face helps build trust, as you aren’t communicating through a screen.
You’re communicating synchronously, building a relationship as you do.
This is a great way to find new customers and business partners, so if you make a great connection, stay in touch.
Your network is an asset
Relationships compound over time, and there’s no telling what opportunities those relationships may present you with in the future.
Social media connections can become co-founders, someone who hears you speak at a conference can become one of your best customers, and a friend from your volunteer group could connect you with a great supplier.
So, keep adding people to your network, and keep in touch with those you do.
Steven V. Dubin
Co-Founder, My Pinnacle Network
Networking puts you in the same traffic lane of colleagues
Simply put, networking puts you in the same traffic lane of colleagues. It gets you on their radar and expands your bench of advocates. It also gives you more resources to offer to your clients — creating a greater bond and added value.
Networking streamlines the sales process because people want to buy based on a personal referral and vetting. The “close” ratio is higher and faster.
Networking exponentially expands your reach
If we accept the theory that each of us knows approximately 200 other business people and we are in a networking group of 20 people, our reach just expanded to 4,000! That is a broad audience. And we have a much better chance for a personal introduction.
Yet, this is not a “one and done” process. Ongoing contact ensures ongoing introduction. Out of mind, out of sight. Get involved, offer value, and get value back in return.
Here is a quick tip on how to be a better networker:
Honestly, I’d rather read a book than approach a stranger. But that is not the best way to build my business. Thus, I needed to step outside of the shadows and expand my network.
What has put me at ease? Using my former reporter skills to get the other person to open up and talk. I no longer feel that I need to showcase myself or dominate the conversation. Letting the other person talk and begin the relationship-building process.
Some questions to ask:
- “What brings you to this event? I’m new at networking.”
- “What are some of your favorite networking events?”
- “I’m here to meet new people. Tell me what you do?”
- “Tell me about the kind of prospects you’d like to meet?”
To create a web of connections that you can tap into
Networking doesn’t just mean simply meeting people. And it means making meaningful connections with individuals so that you ultimately have access to the people they know.
It’s a one-to-many approach.
As you make connections, each of the subsequent people you meet also has a sphere of influence that you want to tap into, and on it goes, creating a web of connections.
The trick to business networking is, of course being sure people understand who you are and what you have to offer but, even more importantly, making yourself appealing enough that people want to introduce you to others.
I found that people are generally kind and want to help each other. In business, people engage with those they like and trust, so that is the first place to start. Show real interest in others, and they will show interest in you.
The benefit to this approach is never having to actually cold call a potential client because you are building a referral network.
If someone calls you and says, “Hey, Justin says you’re the guy in the know about what I need.” the job is half done. Now you just need to not mess it up. Likewise, if you call Karyn and say, “Emily suggested you might need what I have to offer.” Karyn is paying attention because she knows Emily will not waste her time.
The side benefit is each of these new contacts has a network of its own that you can tap into. So get to it.
Remember, this is your business, so be systematic.
Stay in contact with your network. Remind them from time to time what you have to offer, what’s new and exciting, and tell them how they can help you. Your networking peeps are not waking up every day trying to figure out what you need, so be sure you are top-of-mind through:
- Social media,
- Personal emails,
- Text messages,
- and occasional lunches, drinks, or dinners with those who have the potential to help you the most
Work your network, and you’ll keep the pipeline full.
Architectural Draftsman, AC Design Solutions
It increases business by generating referrals
According to research, referrals account for 65 percent of new business. According to the same report, 92 percent of individuals believe recommendations from people they know.
You receive high-quality referrals by networking with people who know and trust you. They are confident in your abilities.
Furthermore, because the leads are pre-qualified, they will be of greater quality than those obtained through conventional marketing channels.
And, because you know the person who referred you, you’ll be able to learn a lot about the lead, including who they are, what they want, and what they anticipate from a business partner or provider like you.
To get the most out of your network, figure out what your contacts are looking for. This is an excellent reason to approach them.
After that, spend some time thinking about how you may refer your connections to one another. It is not something that can be rushed and needs time to develop.
The goal is to be aware of what your connections require and to keep it in mind (or on a list).
When a new individual enters your network, try to determine whether they can assist any of your current network connections in any manner. If that’s the case, put them in touch.
If you do this on a regular basis, your network will begin to reciprocate, resulting in more referrals and new revenue for you.
Business networking offers possibilities
Even the most committed networkers are looking for fresh and lucrative opportunities when they network.
If you network with a group of highly motivated people, you will surely be offered a variety of opportunities that you would not have had access to if you were not a member of the network.
Partnerships, new ventures, cross-promotions, joint promotions, investments, and other strategies may be used.
Actually, because your relationships with your network connections are deeper than they would be if you were just “doing business,” the average size and earning potential of the possibilities you will be presented with will be greater.
CEO and Co-Founder, Fantastic Services
To have a strong network of professional friends
I’ve met many people over the years who are just naturally confident and can easily step onto a stage and present themselves, their own beliefs, and their ideas. Those people are commonly labeled as being extroverted for not having issues talking in front of big crowds.
What I believe is that this is a skill to learn and can be developed with lots of practice.
There are many lecturers, public speakers, and orators that actually consider themselves introverted.
As an entrepreneur, I have managed to build a great professional network— I often asked for help, and I got it. This being said, what I mean is that it all comes to your mindset. It took me years to get where I am, and many people contributed to this.
Oftentimes, I faced challenges, but I received help from others, learned from my mistakes, got up, and continued forward. And you need to build a network with the same attitude. People that won’t ever step back when it gets tough.
Something important I learned over the years is that you create meaningful relationships when connecting with people on a more personal level than just business.
I’ve built the best relationships led by book talks, charity events, and sustainability workshops. But even then, you need to be confident and truly passionate about what you are doing and talking about.
Once that relationship has been established, you will have a strong network of friends that are also experts in influential fields. This will then give you the advantage of feeling more comfortable when asking for advice and, therefore, give one when asked for help.
At the end of the day, networking is all about building trust and is a two-way street.
When going to business events, the best thing to do is simply try to make connections with people. You never know — those people most likely will know things about your business that you had no clue about.
Also, never feel afraid of asking questions. This is a great way to break the ice.
And you don’t have to do much nowadays as well. You can simply start by getting a LinkedIn, as it’s pretty straightforward. When setting your LinkedIn profile, make sure you set it to be public in order to reach as many people as possible.
LinkedIn is great for making connections with people within your industry and sharing content on your business journey and tips and tricks.
You gain new opportunities to work with the best names in your industry
There’s no business or brand that has made it big without building a solid network first. Associations have always been a powerful tool for SMBs (Small to Medium/Midsize Businesses) as substantial relationships with other businesses often lead to the economic development of a company.
If you have just opened your own business or are thinking of putting up one, you should know that business networking is more than handing out business cards and playing golf with other businesses in your industry.
The relationship that you are trying to build is based on mutual motivation— benefit from what the other party could offer.
The word ‘mutual motivation‘ is the key term to remember; you gain real friendships if you show them that your intentions are good and that you can offer something good too for their company.
There are a lot of benefits that come with building strong relationship ties with other businesses within your industry.
You gain new opportunities to work with the best names in your industry; you tend to absorb their perspectives, ideas, and even how other business owners think; and learn how to be more comfortable with collaborating with other experts outside of your team.
As the old saying goes, “your network is your net worth“; interacting with experts and people working in the field that you are in means you can get great deals with the people that you’ve made friends with.
This can be in terms of discounts and special offers which they don’t give to their usual customers.
If you have been friends long enough and you have gained their trust, they might even give you a heads up on who to steer clear from to prevent committing mistakes in your business and which habits would be helpful for you to grow your business.
It is also important to note that you raise your profile through networking, and this could give you more room to increase the value of your products and services without the fear of not gaining any customers.
If you have created strong ties with other people, it is easier to ask them if they can introduce your company to their friends and relatives, which, in essence, is the word of mouth marketing— one of the most powerful and free forms of advertisement for your company.
Financial Analyst, Overdraft Apps
The following are just a few of the numerous benefits that networking delivers to businesses:
Solutions to business challenges
If you’re having trouble with your business, networking can help you connect with others who have dealt with similar problems in the past and can provide advice and potential solutions to help you move forward.
Best practice information may also be disseminated through business networks, which may help you simplify your operations.
Networking allows you to connect with other individuals and organizations, which may lead to the discovery of new business opportunities or the formation of new partnerships in the pursuit of new business endeavors.
Develop social skills
Networking regularly will help you gain confidence in interacting with people, which can benefit future interactions with employees, customers, and suppliers.
Just as networking may give you valuable business ideas and solutions, you can also help others, giving you a sense of pleasure and accomplishment. It will also assist you in improving your professional image.
Access fresh talent
If you’re having trouble filling employment vacancies or seeking a certain skill set to add to your company, networking might help you find the people you need.
Networking allows your company to compare its performance to that of other comparable businesses, revealing your strengths and places for development.
Raise your company’s profile
Networking gets you and others to see your company, and by making more connections and contributing to networks regularly, your company will become more respected.
New customers or suppliers
Networking can assist you in locating new customers or suppliers, either through the network’s members or by referrals from others in the group.
CEO, Alchemy Leads
It helps to build your brand awareness
One major benefit to business networking is simply creating awareness around your brand. Networking means more people will know who you are and can help you by sharing content, blog posts, and content that you create via social media.
The more other businesses talk about you, the more chances you can get your business recognized by consumers. It also lets other businesses know you exist and who may be interested in collaborating with you in order to benefit each other.
Creates lasting connections you can use in the future
Even if nothing initially comes from making networking connections, you still have contact with other businesses you may need in the future and vice versa.
Never burn a bridge with those who you have made good connections with, as many interesting projects and opportunities can arise from networking that will benefit you simply by getting to know other like-minded people.
Allows you to see different perspectives
Business networking means getting to know other interesting people who might have a fresh outlook on the business world. These new ideas can help to spark creativity in yourself and allow you to become inspired.
Inspiration is necessary in business in order to keep up to date on current trends and to simply stay relevant.
Networking allows you to share ideas with others and open your mind to new, more interesting business-related news.
The more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way
As an entrepreneur, I can surely say that the benefits of your networking are crucial for your personal growth and business development.
Businesses are all about building relationships, taking action, and of course, networking. The main benefit I must include while talking about the benefits of a business network is the opportunities.
The more people you know in your own field, the more opportunities will come your way. Their form does not matter. It can be by partnering with other business people or companies, referrals, etc.
Then comes the knowledge. Sharing knowledge is a big deal. You may avoid making big mistakes if you learn from the mistakes of others. Discussing products and ideas with people like-minded is an excellent way of improving and upgrading yourself.
The more knowledge you share, the more you are capable of seeing things from another perspective.
Connections are a significant factor. No matter the industry, you, as an entrepreneur, will have to make a lot of connections. Make as much of them as you can. It is proven to be a good tactic.
Your confidence will be skyrocketing. If you are bold enough to always talk to people you don’t know, making friends with them will help you increase your confidence. As a business owner, this is a necessary attribute.
Ultimately, your brand will rise too. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of networking.
The more people you know, the more people know about your brand.
It helps your business be recognizable and will help you build a better reputation for yourself and your business in general. You are probably going to get more leads and offers than usual.
Related: The 6 Best Personal Branding Books
Dr. Subodh Simon Karmarkar
CEO and Founder, RefundWiz
An opportunity for business bartering
The basics of business networking are commonplace and basically static via social networks like LinkedIn, community events, and the like. In contrast, business bartering is a huge missed opportunity within the business networking domain.
Every organization, especially startups, should incorporate business bartering as a part of its business plan.
For example, 4C Management Consultants offers human resource consulting for small to medium-sized businesses.
When the time came to launch HelpMeNow, an on-demand mental health app, the founder of 4C Management Consultants traded his expertise in developing HR policies, procedures, and employee handbooks with a website development company.
In return, the website developer offered expertise in designing a landing page initially and subsequently designing the website. As founders, the need to preserve capital is of greatest importance. Each company was in a different growth stage and benefitted from the offerings of the other.
From the tribes of Mesopotamia, which leveraged the bartering system to obtain food and weapons, to now, bartering at its core is a tried and tested concept. Prehistoric humans routinely traded animal skins and furs for food and services.
Bartering has evolved with technology by going mobile.
With the advent of bartering apps, multilateral bartering is possible. There are bartering exchanges that have created non-cash currency like bartering dollars or credits, which can be used to “purchase” goods or services.
Bartering is an excellent avenue for preserving cash, increasing sales, moving inventory, and during slower times— it is an efficient method to continue being productive.
Bartering is better than typical advertising.
Because with advertising, one is simply promoting, whereas with bartering, one is producing, and through that process, one is promoting. Bartering is a way for a service or product provider to showcase the talent.
One can get real testimonials with respect to the adoption of the service or use of a product. One can publish use case examples on their respective websites.
Co-Founder, GasPack Media
A significant factor in business growth
Personally, business networking has played a significant factor in our business growth. Currently, 75% of our clients have come from networking directly, with one client being responsible for two accounts and another client ready to make an introduction to another.
My business partner and I began our marketing agency in June of 2021. In less than one year, we have created two jobs, moved from our first office into our third, space more than doubling each time, and are earning great profits.
Four of our five clients have been ones we met from networking at an event we helped organize for another client. Our first client was one we signed after seeing the work we previously did growing brand name recognition for a previous individual.
The only way a business will thrive in the digital age is through networking.
We live in a time where everyone has a digital presence. What distinguishes any agency from another will be the individuals. That is where business networking will play its vital role.
Content Editor, Castnoble
Business Networking is not just about connecting with a person on LinkedIn. It’s about engaging and interacting with people in your field to create long-lasting relationships where you help each other out or simply learn from one another. What are the benefits?
Access to ideas
Connecting with like-minded peers or even mentors allows you access to people who are going through or have been through problems similar to your own.
You can learn about different best practices or solutions that have worked and could work for you too.
Being in the know
Gathering with others in your industry helps you stay updated on important events and happenings that could be need-to-know for your people only.
You have access to a rich source of information on what’s new, what’s next, what to look out for, and other exciting developments in your field.
Cooperation on projects
One important aspect of business networking is helping each other out. If you have a gap that can be filled by your network and vice versa, it’s easier to work together amicably to solve each other’s problems.
Builds confidence and credibility
Having that connection with industry experts helps raise your business profile and credibility not only to other peers but to potential customers as well. It’s akin to getting a seal of approval for being up to par with other leaders.
In addition, this support system, in turn, should boost your confidence, knowing that respected people in the industry have your back and vouch for your work.
An excellent approach to obtaining advice and experience
Networking is an excellent approach to obtaining advice and experience that you would not otherwise be able to obtain.
Having like-minded business owners to talk to also allows you to acquire advice from them on a variety of topics pertaining to your business or even your personal life and achieve that crucial work-life balance.
Just make sure you’re getting good guidance from the proper person —someone who knows what you need to know and isn’t just giving you their opinion on something in which they have minimal experience.
Interaction with other entrepreneurs is easier and faster
The Internet and social media have made it easier and faster to interact with other entrepreneurs.
Join forums that cover issues in your specialization or area of expertise. And don’t confine it to business. Find groups that are of personal interest to you. It’s a good idea to broaden your network rather than focusing solely on your professional interests. People enjoy a coffee break during a conference.
Learning about others
Make sure you’re prepared before going to events or striking up a conversation. Keep business cards in your wallet and be prepared to offer anything about your company if the occasion arises.
You don’t want to bumble around explaining what you do.
Remember that networking isn’t just about you; it’s also about interacting with and learning about others. It’s possible that now isn’t the greatest moment to pitch.
It’s better to listen to someone who knows a bit or two about entrepreneurship and potentially pick up some wonderful advice.
CEO and Founder, TruLog Siding
The exchange of ideas is very essential for bringing innovation to businesses
In today’s era, networking has become very popular among all individuals as it allows them to exchange information or ideas with each other.
Businesses also use networking to expand their circles and increase acquaintances in order to stay up to date on new trends in the business world.
Due to the availability of apps like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., it is not difficult to connect to these business networks where businesses can set up their business profiles to interact with other enterprises.
This exchange of ideas is very essential for bringing innovation to businesses as it gives the professionals a new perspective and helps them shape their objectives.
If a business is actively engaged with other businesses, it will be not only able to keep up with the competition in the market but also learn new and better ways to get work done around the office.
There is also a good chance that you may come across businesses that share your interests, which could lead to a joint venture that opens the door to enter an international market.
This can open up new and promising opportunities for your business, which can be crucial for its success.
Founder, LaCkore Couture
Networking is important for businesses of all sizes
Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for years, networking can help you grow your business and achieve your goals.
There are many benefits to networking, including developing relationships with potential customers and partners, increasing sales, and obtaining new leads.
When you’re networking, always be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Whether it’s a referral from a colleague, a partnership offer, or a request for your services or products, make sure you act on these opportunities right away.
By being proactive and seizing every opportunity that comes your way, you’ll be able to grow.
When it comes to business networking, there are many benefits. For starters, developing relationships with potential customers and partners can help you to increase sales and expand your reach.
Additionally, networking can help you to learn about new industry trends and developments, and connect with other professionals who may be able to offer advice or support.
Ultimately, networking can help you to grow your business and achieve your goals.
A business network can be a rich source of new industry developments, such as upcoming legal requirements or technological advancements. When you’re a member of a good business network, you can learn about such things well before your competitors.
Being well-connected with other business professionals can also pave the way for potential future partnerships or collaborations.
You may never know when you’ll need to call in a favor from a colleague, so it’s always best to maintain positive relationships with as many people as possible.
Identifying key influencers
As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, but who you know,” and this couldn’t be more true in business. Building relationships with key influencers can help you:
- open doors to new opportunities,
- expand your reach, and
- get your name out there
Taking part in events increases your network and gives you the chance to meet influential people.
Can be an extremely valuable tool for entrepreneurs and business owners
By developing relationships with potential customers and partners, increasing sales, obtaining new leads, and finding referrals, business networking can help you grow your business and reach your goals.
In addition, networking can also help you learn about new industry trends and developments, and connect with other professionals.
CEO and Founder, Flex Suits
Strong support system
Entrepreneurship, and business in general, is a difficult undertaking that can oftentimes feel lonely.
You might also find it difficult to share with your loved ones many of the struggles you encounter as a business owner because they might not understand the gravity of the situations you contend with regularly.
Here’s where business networking comes in.
Networking affords you the opportunity to meet people in business that are going through or have overcome similar struggles as you. These are the people you can lean on for support when times are tough in your business.
They’ll offer you valuable advice from their first-hand experiences, console you, and help you figure out the best moves.
You can also learn from one another how to manage stress and improve your productivity while optimizing your work-life balance. I don’t think I would have made it this long-running my own company if I didn’t have business associates as part of my support system.
They’ve given me advice when I needed it, they’ve helped me blow off steam when I needed to, they’ve listened to my troubles and celebrated my wins, and they’ve taught me how to stay sane regardless of the constant pressure I’m under.
It’s important to be a part of a community of like-minded people that understand and have lived through similar struggles. It’s the only way to keep your head above water in this tumultuous business landscape.
CEO and Founder, Click A Tree
Very interesting question. I wondered for a while because it often seems like one is attending too many business meetings, exchanging too many business contacts, and not getting anything out of it.
However, just last week, I had another eye-opening experience: A gentleman I had met at a business event about four years ago was working for a hotel company at that time.
We started talking and finally ended up doing business — they decided to plant one tree for every overnight guest.
He left the company end of last year. And, as so often it goes, one could think that was the end of our cooperation. However, thanks to LinkedIn, we stayed in touch. He went looking for a new job in the sustainability sector, so I was able to make a few introductions for him.
Unfortunately, none of the intros I made worked out for him. But on the upside, he found a fantastic job with Vodafone. He absolutely loves it there. (So much so that one could actually argue it was lucky that none of my introductions worked out for him.)
Interestingly, he now leads the sustainability team for a branch of Vodafone Germany — and so we already got in touch again to discuss cooperation possibilities between Click A Tree and Vodafone.
It’s exciting to see where active business networking can lead.
Of course, one can’t keep in touch with all of his business contacts. But an honest, interested check-in from time to time via a network like LinkedIn is easily done — and can yield huge benefits.
PR Manager, Condo Control
Networking can lead to strong and successful partnerships
When one thinks of business back in the olden days, I envision knocking on people’s doors and calling them from a payphone.
Business has changed a lot nowadays. Businesses now realize that sharing a common goal of creating value for another business and doing the same where both companies benefit is key.
One portion of business is what you know; the other portion of business is who you know.
This ‘who you know‘ aspect is supported by business networking. It is essential for a company to successfully network with other businesses to help expand its reach for more clients.
Business networking gives businesses key components that allow those who do business networking to become more successful. Those key things are:
The more value you can bring to another business that you are not competing with, the more likely the exchange of value will be given back as long as there are clear boundaries to ensure that it is not a one-sided relationship.
Establishing more connections allows more flexibility and adaptability in obtaining new clients, not just from your regular funnel-based lead sources.
Networking can lead to strong and successful partnerships where now both companies are thriving instead of struggling.
In conclusion, if you are not already business networking, go on social media and find the many group business groups out there and start your journey in adding more and growth to your business by doing so.
CEO and Founder, Uplift Legal Funding
The benefits of business networking are many. One of the most significant advantages is that it opens you up to the business world. A frog in the well cannot conceive of the ocean!
You can learn about disruptors, new players in the market, and so much more about the industry. Without networking, important information is lost that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.
Helps acquire wisdom and intelligence of a unique kind
It enables you to assess what connections are worth fostering. You’ll become a better judge of businesses and people. This will add to your experience as a leader, one that you won’t be taught via books.
A golden ticket to meet great minds and strike business partnerships
This will automatically raise the value of your business. It will help in scaling by using shared resources. Business networking increases the visibility of your business.
It also opens you up to new solutions and new suppliers. It’s a brilliant opportunity to set new benchmarks. Every company must invest in business networking, especially in their local markets.
Your network is your most valuable asset as an entrepreneur
I have gotten the majority of my business deals not because of how smart I am but through network referrals. The same is the case with jobs I had in the past.
As you might know, most people obtain jobs through the hidden job market and referrals rather than through formal job sites.
Helps you find business connections that will support you during tough times
One of the most common problems that entrepreneurs struggle with is loneliness and a lack of a support network. Expanding your network and joining Mastermind groups will help you have a shoulder to lean on when times get tough.
Networking helps you build accountability
When you tell people that you have such and such a goal this year, you’re more likely to achieve them because people will ask you whether you’ve achieved this goal, and it’s embarrassing to say no constantly.
CEO and Founder, Kudos
It is a retainer for your future
I attribute the early success of my company to business networking. Though I’ve worked for Fortune 500 companies, founding your own company is a different animal.
I needed direction to establish my business processes effectively, build a passionate team and vision, and obtain critical contacts, and my advisors offered resources in all of those areas.
The secret to networking is that there is no secret — it’s about being human, connecting over shared passions, and creating mutually beneficial relationships.
When I first set out on my journey as a small business owner, I knew I couldn’t navigate the unpredictable waters alone. Luckily, I had invested a great deal of time into my professional relationships leading up to that point.
There are limitless ways to expand your network in the digital age. LinkedIn is an incredible resource to connect with people who hold all of the titles, experience, and contacts that you might need.
I would also recommend connecting with people within your reach, such as:
- the CEO of the company you work for,
- a local small business owner, etc.
Most importantly, ignore your nerves because most people want to help.
From fellow alumni to business advisors, my network has been and continues to be my most valuable resource. Someone once told me to view business networking as a retainer on my future, and it’s proven to be the best piece of advice I’ve ever received.
Vice President, Motivosity
The top benefits of business networking are being able to connect with new people, learn about other industries and career options, and practice public speaking.
Being able to connect with new people
Being able to connect with new people is beneficial whether you’re simply looking to grow your network or you’re looking to change jobs or careers.
The more people you connect with, the larger your inner circle becomes, as does your entire network.
You can tap into that network whenever you or someone you know needs help or assistance and know that someone will be able to provide you with the help you need.
Learning about other industries and career options
Learning about other industries is another benefit of networking, especially when you attend events outside of your immediate business field.
You never know what you might learn from someone outside your industry or what a chance encounter with someone could end up leading to.
To practice public speaking
Perhaps the most underrated value of business networking is the ability to practice public speaking. Every time you meet someone new, you get to practice your introduction or elevator pitch.
The more times you do this, the more natural it will feel, and that will help boost your confidence and skills in public speaking.
Director, Ascelade Pte Ltd
The ability to relate and connect easily with other people
Yes, we do network in the hope of generating new transactions for our business. But the things that kept me going in networking were the encouragement and advice I received from other business owners.
I guessed that most of us are quite different from our friends who are mostly paid employees working in a company.
Their boss will be the ones giving the encouragement, but who provides the boss with encouragement? It’s from other bosses because they are able to relate and connect easily.
Here are some tips you could do when networking;
Be generous and genuine with your encouragement
Giving encouragement is free and helps you connect with the person receiving it. Remember that most business owners are usually alone, and a handful of people cheer for them.
You can always cheer for them by encouraging each other.
Being genuine means that it has to come from your heart, and you mean it. A good way is to listen intently when they speak and reference something they shared with you.
This way, the other person will know that you listened and that you understand their situation.
Give advice only when asked
Only give advice when asked. Why? Because most of the time, the person already knows what the solution is.
It is like a new mother taking care of her baby, then an older woman who was a mother 20 years ago kept sharing her experience with the new mother about what to do, how to carry the baby, etc.
Don’t you think it’s irritating? This is the same for business owners too. So how do you make them ask you for advice?
By showing your expertise in your field, and the results your clients have received after using your product or service.
President, Asterisk Marketing Inc.
Can bring solutions to business problems
When you get connected with industry experts who are experienced in your field of business, you make yourself open to a huge opportunity.
You can discuss your business challenges with these people, and they are likely to suggest you the best solutions.
These people can also refer their connections to you, who might be able to help you with the process. With this advice and solution, you get one step ahead to success.
Boosts up confidence
Getting used to networking and meeting new people allows you to enjoy greater self-confidence. As you get closer to these people, you get to know new things that they learned from their age-old experiences.
As you get to know their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, it helps you understand how you should build yourself to be like them or even better.
Overall, it helps you to grow the confidence that you can also be an industry leader.
Allows you to turn into an expert
The more people you meet, the more things you get to know about the industry. If you can successfully build a wide range of expertise in the different parts of the industry, you can soon become an expert.
When the people in your network get to know about your vast expertise, they will also consider you their “go-to” person for advice and information.
President, CalTek Staffing
Broader access to knowledge and talent sources
A wide professional network means more people to reach out to when you have a question or need advice on how to handle a business challenge or dilemma.
It also gives you more people to contact for referrals, an especially helpful benefit in the current labor market.
Access and exposure to different market segments
When you form connections with business leaders, they’ll be more likely to recommend your business to clients, customers, or team members who need services you provide that they can’t.
This can give you access to market segments you may not have realized existed or didn’t know how to reach without this network connection.
You build reputational capital
One of the best ways to build network connections is to help other people solve problems or answer questions. Doing this earns you their goodwill and makes them feel good about sharing your accomplishments or ventures with their followers and network.
As you build these connections, your reputational clout and name recognition within your industry grows something that can be very helpful in scaling your revenue and reaching other business benchmarks.
Global Business Director, Headley Media
Business networking keeps the doors open
Where a business wants to expand and grow within a sector, they need to have the best people working for them.
While sometimes you may attract those people through your normal recruitment processes, they will often be talented people who are currently satisfied with their work and are not actively looking for a new job.
During networking events, business leaders can meet a variety of people and get to know them a little. Away from events, online networking can identify even more potential talent.
Of course, an employee looking into new opportunities also gets a chance to showcase themselves in a format that may be better suited to them than a formal interview process.
Business networking keeps doors open; rather than becoming insular and only focused on their own business and its goals, an individual can gain an understanding of what is happening in the wider sector.
Networking is a great opportunity for any individual to develop within their role.
Founder, Baltimore Property Partners, INC.
Having a larger pool of knowledge
It is through engaging with different people from the same or different fields of work that one is able to gain more knowledge on different matters such as financial management, and optimization of resources, among others.
Having different people at your exposal allows one to learn new things and how to adapt to changes in the workplace. It is through these networks that one is able to interact with competitors enabling one to understand how they operate and create a better space for competition.
Building the brand
Networking allows one to interact with different people, hence a very easy way of attracting new customers as well as retaining existing ones through building relationships. In the process, it acts as a form of advertising the business, hence creating more confidence in the customers and the brand as well.
In the real estate industry, for example, where I am an investor, it is paramount to have business networks with fellow investors such as home selling companies, insurance companies, and construction companies, to mention a few.
Technical Director, CloudTech24
It has a positive impact on your personality and well-being
Face-to-face socializing and networking can be stressful for many people. However, they should be considered as challenges rather than obstacles. Networking can provide a wealth of benefits.
It goes without saying that being around successful individuals will have a beneficial impact on you by motivating and inspiring you. You can’t help but become swept up in their ecstasy.
Furthermore, networking allows you to feel linked to others, making you feel like you belong and are a member of a community. This also provides a significant boost to your sensation of well-being.
It compels you to keep an open mind
When you meet new individuals, you will encounter attitudes, ideas, and situations that you do not fully comprehend or are completely unaware of.
It could be a new perspective on a topic you previously thought was settled, opening up a whole new line of thinking or study for you. It could also be a thought-provoking or even world-changing opinion that causes you to reconsider your point of view.
It could even be an idea that ignites something in your thoughts and leads to an unexpected chance or new venture.
Marketing is networking. Marketing yourself, your originality, and what you stand for are all marketing examples.
One interaction may make you and your brand prosper
The more you get your ideas in front of people, the better off you’ll be because all it takes is one conversation to create the fortune you want for yourself and your brand.
People are very receptive to talking about big business ideas. They’re looking for angles on how something or someone can boost their business.
If you sell office supplies to a new customer who just so happens to be expanding into new territory in another part of town, that could wind up being a big score for you.
If you’re an insurance broker with a long line of clients, one that a bigger company would like to incorporate, you could wind up getting hired on the condition that all of your clients come with you.
That situation could wind up being more lucrative, and you could wind up with more resources than you ever could have imagined.
We paired up with Tony Robbins and named our fledgling company after he’s just released a book. There are no limits to the benefits of networking and joining forces with other brands.
Founder and Personal Finance Expert, Finance Jar
Strengthen professional ties
Sharing is the heart of networking—establishing trust and working collaboratively toward common goals. Sharing also establishes the foundation for bilateral help when one business needs it to achieve its goals.
You must first focus on getting acknowledged to be able to start sharing.
Attending business and social events periodically keeps you visible to the rest of the business community. Networking is a vital strategy for providing companies with many possibilities to succeed. Entrepreneurship requires a considerable amount of effort.
Hence, having a community of colleagues will assist you in establishing your firm.
Offering business advice to colleagues on social occasions helps establish you as a knowledgeable member of your community. This will also assist you in attracting high-level recruiters.
Networking would also provide an excellent chance to trade skills in quality management, discover rivals’ corporate strategies, and stay abreast of the newest business breakthroughs.
It can also result in expert counseling, brief connections, and eventually securing your career goal.
Founder, Healthy Dad Days
Your personal brand is elevated
Being an expert, I would say business success relies on the fact that your name is known by those who can help you. Your profile rises due to your frequent contact, either with people you already know or through meeting new people on a regular basis.
The foundation of increasing success is a person who can be relied upon and trusted, and you become that person over time as you assist others with advice and deeds.
Although advertising and social media can help you boost your profile, the marketing you get from your network is of far superior quality because it’s built on trust and word-of-mouth.
This also relates to previous points because you will obtain more recommendations and business as your profile is increased through networking.
It has been said that the number one unwritten rule of success in business is the ability to network effectively. What you know has a lot to do with who you know.
Harvard Law Grad Turned Online Entrepreneur
Business networking allows you to help others
Networking connects you with people in your industry or with other individuals with the same interests. Most people would say that it gives you access to new opportunities and business ideas.
To me, it goes beyond getting something in return. Instead, business networking is also a chance to help others.
You can share your experience and expertise and provide insightful advice to those who need it.
You may not know it, but seemingly simple words of wisdom or a swift kick in the a** from you can result in big changes to someone who hears it. And when you know you can provide value to others, it’s a great source of fulfillment, pride, and satisfaction.
Consequently, it builds your reputation and raises your profile as you contribute more to your network.
You earn a community of fans that believe in you
A year ago, I left my corporate job to start a consulting firm, and it would have failed without business networking.
Through networking, you earn a community of fans that believe in you. They will tell others about you and bring opportunities to you. Their trust is a signal to others about you.
Networking benefits are not always monetary.
You get to learn about different industries, tactics, and best practices through conversations with others. You can share the inside scoop and become a connector. This helps you develop a personal brand of giving rather than taking.
The best jobs aren’t posted online. Networking helps you uncover those hidden gems of job opportunities. Your network can get you in the door before anyone knows it’s even open.
CEO and Founder, iFax
Keep yourself up-to-date
You can stay on the cutting edge of technology and new business trends via networking. By integrating innovative and creative ways of doing things, these contacts and “inside” knowledge might provide you with an advantage over your competition.
Having said that, networking is a talent, and some individuals are just more gifted than others at mixing with strangers and creating friends on first contact.
Make an effort to be nice and learn how to strike up a conversation. Learn how to recall the names of individuals you meet. Make a system, and write something particular about a person on the back of their business card, so you remember who they are when you return to the workplace.
CEO and Founder, Bite Toothpaste Bits
Keep a lookout for opportunities to learn from other experts in your field
If you’re hoping to build a network of people with whom you might collaborate to help increase sales, you’ll first need to begin to gain some visibility. And there are fewer better ways to accomplish this than establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
Now, this may seem easier said than done, but there are numerous ways to really “put yourself out there.”
Look for opportunities to be a podcast guest, take on interviews, and provide expert quotes to journalists. And as you work with more and more people, there will be numerous times when you connect with possible mentors.
So, keep your eyes open not only for mutual collaborations but also for invaluable learning experiences from other experts in your niche.
Owner, DNT Home Buyers
Increase the chances for more revenue
Networking can be the very thing that brings you more business and, most importantly, more knowledge.
After being in real estate for many years, I have found that networking with other agents has resulted in many business opportunities that I have not gotten should I have treated other realtors as just the competition.
Additionally, there are also some networking events where you get to connect with other professionals related to or completely different from your line of work.
As someone who relies on referrals, being open to other professional relationships has only increased the chances of more revenue for me as an entrepreneur.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can networking help me overcome business challenges and find solutions?
Business networking allows you to tap into the collective knowledge and experience of professionals in your field. By discussing your business challenges with others, you can gain new perspectives, ideas, and potential solutions to overcome these obstacles. In addition, your network may have faced similar issues in the past, and their experiences can provide valuable lessons and guidance for your situation.
How can I maintain and nurture my professional network over time?
Maintaining and nurturing your professional network is critical to long-term success. To ensure that your connections remain strong and mutually beneficial, try to stay in touch with your contacts regularly. This can be done through social media, email, or in-person meetings.
Also, actively participate in networking events and continue to expand your network. Finally, remember that networking is a two-way street, so be sure to offer support, advice, or help when they need it to further strengthen your relationships.
How can networking help me stay motivated and maintain a positive attitude?
Surrounding yourself with like-minded professionals through networking can significantly impact your motivation and attitude. By connecting with people who share your drive and ambition, you can benefit from their energy and enthusiasm, which can help you stay focused and inspired. A network can also provide a supportive community that understands your challenges and offers encouragement, advice, or even a sympathetic ear when needed.
How can I make the most of my networking efforts?
To maximize the benefits of networking, approach it with a genuine interest in building relationships and helping others rather than focusing solely on your own needs. Be open to learning from others and actively listen to their stories, experiences, and advice.
Prioritize quality over quantity when building your network. It is more valuable to have a small group of strong, meaningful connections than many superficial ones. Finally, connect with the people you have met to nurture those relationships over the long term.
Can networking help me become a better leader?
Absolutely! Networking can contribute to your leadership development in several ways. By connecting with other leaders or professionals, you can learn about their leadership styles, strategies, and approaches that can inspire and inform your leadership practices.
Networking also exposes you to different perspectives and experiences, fostering empathy and understanding that are essential to effective leadership.
Finally, the interpersonal skills you develop through networking, such as communication, active listening, and relationship building, can contribute to your overall leadership skills.
How can networking contribute to my work-life balance?
While networking can sometimes feel like an additional responsibility, it can positively affect your work-life balance. Networking events and activities can be a break from your daily routine and provide an opportunity to socialize, relax and recharge.
In addition, the relationships you build through networking can lead to new friendships or social connections, enriching your personal life. Finally, the professional benefits of networking, such as increased business growth and career opportunities, can contribute to a more fulfilling and balanced work and personal life.
How can networking help me stay accountable for my goals?
Networking with like-minded professionals can create an environment of mutual support and accountability. Sharing your goals with others in your network can make you more committed to achieving them, knowing that others know your intentions and may follow up on your progress. In addition, your network can provide guidance, encouragement, and resources to help you stay on track and overcome obstacles.
Can networking help me develop a global perspective on my industry?
Participating in networking activities that involve professionals from different countries or regions can give you a global perspective on your industry.
By connecting with people with different cultural backgrounds and experiences, you can gain insight into international market trends, business practices, and innovations. This global perspective can help you identify new opportunities, adapt to changing market conditions and make more informed business decisions.
How can networking help me become more adaptable and flexible?
Networking can enhance your adaptability and flexibility by exposing you to different professionals, industries, and situations. Through these interactions, you can learn how others have dealt with change and adapted to new circumstances.
You can also keep up to date on industry trends and emerging technologies through networking to better anticipate and respond to change. Developing these traits allows you to become more agile and better equipped to meet unexpected challenges and opportunities.
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