Why should I network?
- 19th Oct
October 2020: why should I network?
A lot of people dread networking. There can be all sorts of reasons for not going: they’re not a chatty person, they don’t like the formality of it, or they simply don’t have the time.
But what is networking?
A quick Google found the following definitions:
To summarise, networking allows you to meet, in a social context, people in your industry that can be supportive and useful to you and vice versa.
But don’t restrict yourself to your own industry: if you’re a plumber, do you really need to know loads of plumbers? Would it not be better to know a range of people of different trades and businesses?
Consider this: to run your plumbing business, what do you need?
Business cards and other stationery? You’ll need a printer.
Public indemnity insurance? You’ll need an insurance broker.
Bookkeeping and tax returns? You’ll need an accountant.
Employ people? You’ll need an HR consultant and perhaps an accountant to do the payroll.
The list goes on.
You could find all these online but networking allows you to meet and interact with people, to put a face to the name, build relationships and trust. Networking provides you with a circle of useful and supportive people who are more likely to use you because they know you.
Here are some other benefits:
Shared Knowledge – networking allows the exchange of ideas and knowledge. There’s a good chance someone there has been through the situation you find yourself.
Opportunities – to identify leads for work, to develop new skills (eg presenting to the group) and to find the people you need. It’s not just the people you network with but who they know as well.
Confidence – networking can help build your confidence to talk about you and your business, in a friendly environment which will help you later down the line.
Social Interaction – particularly useful for those of us that are working at home or alone in some other way but also for office types, a chance to interact with a different group of people.
There’s no right way to network. The key is to have an aim or goal: what do you want to achieve from today’s networking? It may just be two or three business cards or perhaps it is to meet an accountant. A goal will give you focus, but in any event be ready to talk about you, what you do, why you’re unique and why someone would want you.
Networking may seem like a modern phenomenon but it’s been around for centuries. We just didn’t call it networking. It was traders meeting in market squares, businessmen meeting in clubs and so on, to discuss and exchange ideas, to promote themselves and others. It’s the same today.
It may well be all the marketing you need, help you meet new people and help drive your business forward. So, why not start looking today!?