With advertising and sponsored Facebook posts, there is ease in growing your brand and business behind a desk. However, investing your time and building long-term relationships through networking adds priceless component for your company. While networking may not lead to immediate earnings, it will eventually lead to long-term profits, added benefits and lasting relationships.
Today I am sharing top three reasons why you should network and how. Even though this topic may push you out of your comfort zone, I hope it will get you motivated to put yourself out there and mingle!
Six Degrees of Separation. A theory is based on the chain of connection whereas every sixth person is separated from another by six steps or links. This "friend-of-a-friend" ideology holds true more than ever thanks to social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Networking comes to play in the six degrees of separation because it brings you closer to a person and/or group of people that would otherwise be inaccessible. In a nutshell, you are strengthening weaker ties when you broaden your horizon and network!
Peer Synergy. Meeting other businesspeople and bouncing ideas off of each other can open doors for inspiration and education. Through networking you have the opportunity to find out how others in your industry tick, to seek advisement when your answers cannot be Googled and establish long lasting relationships.
Referrals. If you only take one thing away from today's blog post, let it be this final reason. Referrals are the essential reason for networking. When you are interested in buying a new product or service, are you more or less likely to purchase one your friend recommended? I am certain many of you answer more likely! This proves why putting yourself out and attaining word-of-mouth recommendations, there is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Gain publicity, grow your relationships, and create ambassadors for your company.
Now that you are ready to start networking you need to find the best form networking for you! From LinkedIn groups to joining an association, there are a variety of options to fit your lifestyle and schedule. Of course, anytime you are able to meet another person face-to-face the connection will always be stronger. There are countless organizations at your disposal for networking, that offer casual meet-and-greet mixers to business meetings. My suggestion is to start with your Chamber of Commerce to connect with vast pool of entrepreneurs local to your area or to research events within your niche.
While face-to-face networking is ideal, it is not realistic for many small business owners who are balancing their company and personal relationships. Social networking allows you to connect with industry leaders around the globe and gain a larger threshold of knowledge. However, it is easy to get lost in an online forum where there are 200+ members. Research Facebook and LinkedIn groups where you feel confident voicing your opinions and striking up a conversation. The takeaway here: it is less about building relationships and more about learning with online networking.
If you are interested in learning more about growing your business, contact me for a more in-depth consultation on networking in your region.