Several years ago, I made the move back to the Isle of Wight to get away from the rat race and the ever-increasing commute times. As a small business owner, an old acquaintance of mine told me I must start Networking.
I was highly skeptical, but as it turns out networking is a key activity that is not only fun, but has been critical to my personal growth and business development.
But that’s not the only benefit of networking. In fact that’s only the beginning.
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 and avoid some of the common pitfalls they experienced.
It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities. The thing you will not know is when or how they will materialise. Whether it’s a referral, offer partnership or request for your service or product, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.
Remember you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room, you are building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, if you have made an impression, you will likely get a referral.
And remember it’s not just a one-way street. 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.
4. Increased confidence
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, it will help increase your confidence. This is an important attribute as a business owner, because your business growth is dependent on talking to people and making connections.
5. Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognise you. 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.
Your Opportunity Network with BC’s Best
I’m currently a member of the Isle of Wight Chamber, Cowes Business Association, The Island Business Network and Vectis Business Link. If you’d like to join me for any of these organisations events, just drop me a line and I’ll let you know when and where we can meet up