Successful business networking is all about making connections and nurturing these newly-established relationships. It also happens to be one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tactics available, especially for entrepreneurs who lie awake at night worrying about not having enough customers. According to Bloomberg, this is one of the contributing reasons why 80% of businesses fail within their first 18 months.
The appreciation for personal relationships in business is rising above the onslaught of print media advertising. This is because companies are realising that customers are more willing to conduct business with individuals whom they already like and trust. The old maxim that “It’s not what you know but who you know” should actually state “It’s not what you know but how good your client relationships are.”
How can I network effectively?
Running a business is difficult enough so it is important to surround yourself with positive and uplifting people in your network. This can be done in a variety of ways, either online or offline.
• Offline Networking
Attending business and related networking events will allow you to establish and nurture professional relationships with like-minded people in your and other related industries. It is crucial to be thoroughly prepared when attending these events and this goes further than simply handing out business cards.
To create an effective networking relationship, you need to maintain close ties with relevant business professionals on a regular basis. This is where online networking, using social media, can greatly assist companies.
• Online Networking
An effective online strategy ensures that you understand what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve your online marketing efforts. In order to be effective on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you need to regularly communicate relevant information and monitor this content as well as to respond to your network’s online chatter.
Connecting on a personal level in business, through networking has never been more important or easier and the benefits are tremendous.
Benefits of Networking
• Increase Your Business
One of the most obvious outcomes of business networking is that your established network will usually provide you with very high quality leads which have great potential of becoming future business, if nurtured correctly.
• Multiply Your Connections
Networking is an excellent method of sourcing business contacts. It enables you to meet with influential people who are relevant to your business and provides further opportunities of being able to tap into their extended networks too.
• Boost Your Brand
A valuable result of effective networking is that it raises brand awareness enabling both your personal and your company brand image to become more visible in the market. This is beneficial in that your immediate network will remember your brand when they, or a member of their network, require your products or services.
• Become A Thought Leader
Online networking via social media can assist you to become a thought leader within your industry. This is done through publishing content relating to your expertise, such as corporate blog articles or white papers. In addition, as people tap into your expertise so you too can tap into theirs and problem solving becomes a lot easier.
• Cost-Effective Marketing Platform
Whether you are attending an event or following an online marketing strategy, both serve to cut marketing costs. This is especially important for entrepreneurs starting out on a new business venture.
Networking, whether online or offline, is all about relationship-building and developing. Relationships should be mutually beneficial in order to maximise their benefits. By continually connecting with new people and cultivating these professional relationships, you will be able to successfully leverage your network and help your business grow, while keeping you up to date with the subtle undercurrents within your industry.