If you are in business or looking to grow your career, networking is almost a necessity. Unless you have rare skills that mean the world comes to you, you need to go and find the world. Networking can help you do that.
Networking can take many forms. It might be attending an event, or interacting on social media. Perhaps it might be coffee with a contact, or lunch with a colleague.
While it can sometimes be uncomfortable, building networks is a sure way to grow your business and or career.
Starting a Business
When you start out, getting those first clients can be a challenge. Networking can be a way of attracting business directly or attracting referral sources to your business. Referral sources can be a great source of business as your potential clients are warmly referred, so the trust is already there.
Growing a business
You may be at a stage where it is not necessarily about getting new clients, but more about the challenges of running a business. It can be good to talk to other business owners about the issues you are facing. Running your own business is often isolating so it can be helpful to find like minded others who understand what you are facing. It can be a good resource for you and also means you might be in the position to help someone else.
Growing your career
Networking within your own company can be a great way to improve your work situation. Whether it is to help you improve your skills or provide the connections you need, getting to know the people who can help you get ahead is a definite advantage. It often helps to have someone whose voice matters put in a good word from you. Unless you make a connection with them they may not be aware of your goals or talents.
Whatever networking you do, the follow up is arguably as important. There is no point going out and meeting people, exchanging business cards and then never contacting each other. The initial networking is often merely an introduction and it’s things like catching up for coffee later on where the relationships can be solidified. You can then really get to know how you can help each other’s businesses and/or careers grow.
Remember, networking should never be about just making a sale. If you are the person who is shoving business cards in peoples faces, you will also likely be the one everyone is avoiding like the plague!