I have alway been a keen advocate of business networking as a means of building healthy business for any business but especially for those who are home office based.
In this age of Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter – just a few flag bearers of the social media revolution – the concept of business people getting together on a regular or semi regular basis face to face could seem outmoded.
Nonetheless from heads of government to one man businesses there remains a deeply felt need to meet colleagues face to face. Making deals, getting support, comparing notes and sharing experience – people like to build relationships and that means meeting in a real space rather than a virtual one.
What social media does give us is the ability to keep in touch in the digital realm as well, promote our businesses and get feedback supplementing real life interactions.
Any success my business has had has been due to assiduous networking over nearly 14 years. In that time I have found some great networking groups and some that you would have to pay me to attend. I have also found great businesses to work with in supporting my clients, great business companions and some great clients.
Like any business activity the rewards are directly related to the amount of effort put in. For the newbie the choice available can be intimidating. I suggest trying a range to see what suits you best and seems to offer the best opportunities before committing. Personally I prefer the member run or Chamber groups to those that are part of a franchise but others will disagree. Business conversations are like any other. No one enjoys being talked at. Listening, sometimes even when you feel you would rather have a tooth extracted, is more likely to yield rewards than a relentless sales pitch.
See networking as part of your Marketing communications and if it is not delivering business in spite of your active participation, brilliant ’60 second’ promos and winning personality it is time to look at another network. Flogging dead horses is not a rewarding activity.