If you're part of the business world, you've probably heard of business networking, but do you know exactly what it means? Business networking is often ignored by new entrepreneurs who are just starting out in building and growing their business. However, not knowing that it’s also a key part to professional growth and/or their business needs can be a detriment to their business. In this article, you’ll learn important information about why business networking is crucial for your company.
What is Business Networking?
Business networking is a group of contacts and connections you make with professionals, companies, potential customers and end customers in order to create mutually beneficial agreements.
The main objective of this is to achieve economic or professional growth by transforming people into customers and finding business opportunities, building contracts and even gaining professional assistance - all this while just sharing about your business to professionals.
It’s possible to classify the contacts of your business network into two types: potential clients and professional contacts.
Potential clients: all those contacts who will probably look for you to obtain products or services, which generate a direct profit.
Professional contacts: companies, businessmen and people in the professional field who may consider you for business and other job opportunities, for which they would not hesitate to contact you. It also includes the contacts that you can use for professional queries and to request help or service. It’s also important to remember that business network creates opportunities that can benefit both parties.
What Benefits can Business Networking Bring to Your Personal Brand?
No matter if you’re still developing or building your business as well as if you’ve been in the market for a while, networking has some benefits that you can't pass up if you want to increase the success of your personal brand and business:
Creation of professional contacts and potential clients: The most obvious benefit of business networking and the one that you can make the most of, is meeting new people and sharing information about your business to another professional. It’s a good way to meet new professionals and new customers and gain knowledge with upcoming meetings and events which can lead you to further increase your customer base and contacts. Once you start, each new contact becomes a potential network of contacts.
It keeps you up to date and always visible: In order to create contacts it is necessary to meet people, and for that you will always be in talks, events, lunches and all kinds of business-related meetings. By always being at important events, you generate visibility for your brand or company, which can create opportunities for others to contact you quickly and efficiently.
A friendly hand: Business network works in two directions -- your top of mind of professional contacts to ask for help or services, while by the same token, you can do the same! The wider your network, the more likely you are to meet someone who can help you solve problems related to your company or brand. Whether you hire their services or ask them in exchange for other professional favors, your contacts are valuable to your business growth.
Advice from a professional: Professional help can come in different ways and from different people, whether in the form of service, assistance or a talk. Seeking help who has years of experience in the market can help improve your perception of things, the business and even your personal brand, so don’t miss the opportunity to ask for advice when you see it necessary. Business networking opens doors for professional and personal growth.
If you consider all these benefits, it’s not strange that business networking is considered one of the best options to ensure professional success of any business. However, it’s also important to consider certain aspects to achieve it.
How to Make the Most of Business Networking to Achieve Success?
Considering the definition of business networking and its benefits, it is easy to see how it can help you in the different professional areas that your personal brand requires to succeed, but let’s also look at how to expand your customer base:
Not all events are convenient for you: As an entrepreneur, try to be aware of possible events and business meetings you can attend because it’s not always necessary or efficient to attend all of them. Create an action plan, research the potential attendees of an event, and decide whether you must attend or not. It's okay to want to have as many contacts as possible, but most people who attend an event go because they're interested in the topic. So, if the topic isn't directly related to your field of work, it may not be an ideal event to attend.
Think in offering and not in asking: Try to have the mindset to often have something to share and/or offer without expecting something in return as opposed to always be asking for something. You’ll help more people this way and in return, they’ll appreciate and remember you in the future. You never know who you’ll connect when you often help others and you never know when a next referral will come from.
Not everyone is a potential client: It’s not always ideal that for each person you meet is a client or a potential client. Yet, they can be ideal as your contacts. As an entrepreneur, it’s good that part of your contacts is of other professionals with more experience in the field – experts who you can turn to for services or provide solutions to your problems and even to your customers.
Every marketing strategy requires different actions to ensure its success and, as an entrepreneur, business networking must be a part of that strategy. If you use your social resources wisely you will not only grow as a professional but also your brand and your business will also grow. As an entrepreneur, helping partners to grow in business is a win-win situation. Business networking is the key to success for your personal brand and business.
Ires Alliston is an award-winning business professional, and the Global Branding Coach and Mentor for highly motivated speakers, visionary experts, and entrepreneurs who are ready to unlock their genius, launch their business and accelerate their personal brand. She’s been featured on Speakers Magazine and also created signature programs like “Fast Track Your Brand,” “Global Branding for Bosses Academy” and “Branding in Minutes.” She helps clients and students get featured on affiliated media sites like ABC, CBS, NBC, Digital Journal, and Medium with articles. Many of her clients have become industry leaders and coaches due to launching their coaching and training programs. They continue to gain followers and clients. Ires is also the recipient of the “Business of the Year Award” and “Builder Award” celebrating and supporting entrepreneurs, business professionals, and community leaders and their achievements. She continues to help and inspire others worldwide to take actions on their dreams, consistently.