Nothing quite beats the power of face-to-face connections, and since the pandemic this has been somewhat affected. We have had to learn how to connect virtually; online meetings are the new normal.
But it’s important, now more than ever, to make the time to get back out there and network. We understand walking into a room full of unknown faces can be daunting, but there are just so many benefits to be had - from gaining new innovative ideas, to strengthening your connections.
To back us up here, a study into business networking revealed that “the greater the number of networking activities entrepreneurs engage in - the study finds - the higher the chance of having a positive return in terms of profitability, revenue growth, innovation, capitalization and talent.” You can read it here.
Here are some reasons why networking should be an essential aspect in building your business.
Socialising is crucial when it comes to business, and often the social side of work falls on the back burner. Through networking you have the potential to not only grow your contacts to find clientele, but to also build a support network around you. It can be lonely running a business or doing contractual work, and by attending a regular networking event gives you a great opportunity to build professional friendships.
Networking is all about sharing - ideas, contacts, business cards, you name it! The act of sharing may provide you with future job opportunities and push you to expand your expertise. Networking events are also great places to share advice. Whilst most may expect you to hire their services for big issues, most people are more than happy to give you informal advice.
This goes for you as well; you are going to have more experience or expertise on certain topics than others in the room. There’s no better way to market your business than to show you are knowledgeable, and to help others out here and there. You might give somebody that little business boost they need - and who knows they might come back to you for more which you can put a price on!
Networking can be a real tool in growing your self-esteem. The more networking you do, the more you will gain confidence in your personal communication skills, and speaking to strangers about your business. Over time, you will get increasingly more positive about these (initially quite scary) interactions. Also remember that everybody has in one way or another, overcome hurdles during their career.
If you’re lacking confidence or perhaps feeling like you’re hitting a brick wall in your career path, then meeting like-minded business owners will soon get you back on track. We often need to hear from others that they’ve faced similar problems to reassure us that everything will be okay.
The more people you meet, the more opportunities present themselves. This could be a range of things, from giving you a new idea for a product or service, opening the potential to enter a new market or otherwise meeting people superior to your career path. If you network effectively and gain those meaningful connections, there’s also much more of a chance that you’ll get indirect business through referrals and word of mouth.
There are many different networking groups across Hampshire and Surrey to try out, so you are bound to find one, two, or more that suit your needs.
Here at SiGNAL, we have a networking session for BiZHUB on the last Friday of every month.
We’re a bunch of friendly and welcoming business owners and would love for you to join us. Our next one is on the 29th April and you can sign up for a ticket here.
We are also looking to introduce a Signal Summer social on the 2nd Wednesday of every month - keep an eye on our website and social media for more details!