Given that the market is so heavily crowded, networking has become more important than ever. When taken seriously, this communication tool can be the difference between a business that strives and one that thrives.
But that doesn’t stop some people from underestimating just how useful this tool can be. In fact, many people view networking as a professional chore— and it shows during meetings and events. These people aren’t fully optimizing the benefits of networking. They’re merely showing up to a game that they have little interest in participating in.
If you’re not convinced that networking can be used to your benefit, keep reading. By the end of this article, you’ll have 5 new reasons to get your business involved in networking groups and events.
#1 — It creates community.
Networking is a great tool for finding and connecting with other local businesses and people. It’s a strong way to build relationships in your field, as well as related fields.
In a networking group, members from all sorts of backgrounds come together to share information and connections that will help your business grow. In return, you do the same for them. Over time, these co-dependent relationships will get stronger and you will have formed a professional support system to lean on, learn from, and help your business grow. Networking groups and events can also introduce you to local opportunities and customers that you may miss out on otherwise. From there, the more people you meet, the higher your awareness and sales numbers will rise.
#2 — It can lead to widespread business opportunities.
Since you can network in more than one way, it’s only fitting that there’s more than one area with opportunities for you and your business. One of the most enticing benefits of networking is that it can connect you with people all over the world.
Networking can connect you with markets that you may not have been able to reach otherwise. Rather than relying predominantly on local customers, your business would be able to obtain customers in regional, national, and even international areas as well.
How can this be done from so far away? Nowadays, many networking groups and events are available online via the web and social media. These platforms serve as a sort of portal into other areas of the world— more specifically, that area’s market. With such easy access to countless markets, there’s no reason to let distance take away the opportunities your business deserves.
#3 — It combines work and fun (which will help you stay sane).
Whoever says work can’t be fun isn’t networking with the right people. Networking is a great excuse to ditch the constant 9-5 schedule and incorporate a little fun into your work day.
One of the best things about networking is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. However, some of my favorite places to meet up with groups are local restaurants, coffee shops, and the gym (yes, even the gym!). These places keep me energized and motivated, while also giving me a break from the office.
Networking in places like this also allows you to get to know the people in your group on a more personal, less professional level. According to Forbes, “networking during leisure activities works because people are not consciously thinking about their jobs. Your shared interests allow you to naturally get to know someone personally before you know them professionally.” Ultimately, the better you know these people, the easier it becomes to recommend them on a professional level— and vice versa.
#4 — It’s great for personal development.
Another major benefit of networking is the intake of new information and knowledge— especially when it relates to your specific industry. When you network, you spend a lot of time listening to and learning from other business professionals’ stories, experiences, and mistakes. And while this makes for a great resource for your business, it’s also a great resource for your own personal development.
Networking also helps keep people up-to-date on current events, news, trends, popular opinion, innovation, and other business-related information. Staying informed about your industry is one of the best ways to boost your confidence at work. And the more confident you are at work, the less mistakes you will make and the greater your drive to succeed will be. It’s really that simple. If it helps, think of it like a chain reaction in which networking ultimately leads to a greater chance of success.
#5 — It helps you stay ahead of the competition.
With networking, also comes the opportunity to stay ahead of your competition. In a wildly crowded market, this is among the biggest benefits of joining a group or attending events.
Networking is all about who you know and who that person knows. During meetings, people from your industry come together to share their business goals and needs in hopes of forming a new client connection, partnership, or business venture.
When that happens, you’ll have an “in” with a client or company that one of your competitors doesn’t. And the more you network, the more often this will happen. With every new connection, your client base grows and your competitors lose an opportunity they may have had otherwise.
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—Amanda Myers, Copywriter at BoydTech Design, Inc.