Regardless if you have just started your business and you are living the entrepreneurial life for the first time, or if you work for, or own a company with thousands of employees. Networking is one of the most important things you can do to attract the right business partners, make meaningful connections and stay in touch. Building and keeping mutual professional relationships is important for many reasons. While you may think networking is only important for sales related positions, think again. Benefits of networking include:
- Stay up to date with industry and future trends.
- Meet new potential clients or business partners.
- Find out what others are doing and what works in your field of work.
- Get to know others and be known. It is great if you meet people but it is even better if people meet you. Make sure they know exactly what you do or who you represent.
- Make sure you stay in touch with everybody you met and follow up.
- If you are new in your area of business, networking gives you a chance to learn from the experienced professionals on how they do things a successful way.
- Networking helps you better understand the current marketplace.
You can start networking in many ways. But remember to mix it up. Find local conventions or speakers that interest you. Join business meet ups and breakfasts. Don’t forget to take advantage of the easiest and most effective way to network: Social Media. Add contacts you connected with to your Facebook or Linkedin page. If you are from a creative background, follow them and engage on Pinterest and Instagram or similar networks. Many professional organizations have events and own networking platforms as well, for example the AMA (American Marketing Association) or the BNI (Business Networking International).
Networking gives you the benefit of only engaging with likeminded businesses and individuals that share the same interest and information that are mutually relevant. For example, networking at a start-up event can be very useful if you are looking for funding or investment for your company. If your main area of interest lies in International relations, networking is likely one of the most important factors to foster success. Networking events and online platforms allow you to meet people from around the planet.
Most of us hide behind our computer for a majority of the day. Taking time and networking can really give your performance a boost by observing other professionals.
Remember, opportunities don’t come your way, you create them! Tell us how you like to network.