Article from AmazingBusiness.com. Written by Kim Baird:
Business Networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business. Here are the top 9 benefits for business owners of getting involved in networking:
1. Generation of referrals/Increased business
This is probably the most obvious benefit and the reason most business owners decide to participate in networking activities and join networking groups. The great news is that the referrals that you get through networking are normally high quality and most of the time are even pre-qualified for you. You can then follow up on these referrals/leads and turn them into clients. So you are getting much higher quality leads from networking than other forms of marketing. The increase in business from networking is the major advantage, but there are many others as well.
With a motivated group of business owners comes an abundance of opportunities! There are always lots of opportunities that come from networking and in fact this is where the benefits of business networking are huge! Opportunities like joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking and writing opportunities, business or asset sales… the list goes on, and the opportunities within networking are really endless. Just make sure you are jumping on board with the right opportunities and don’t go jumping into every opportunity that comes your way. The opportunities that you get involved in should align with your business goals/vision, otherwise you might find that you are spinning your wheels chasing after opportunity after opportunity and getting nowhere.
Business networking can benefit your business in so many ways
“It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know”. This is so true in business. If you want a really successful business, then you need to have a great source of relevant connections in your network that you can call on when you need them. Networking provides you with a great source of connections, and really opens the door to talk to highly influential people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily talk to or find. It’s not just about who you are networking with directly either – that person will already have a network you can tap into as well. So ask the right questions to find out if the person you are networking with knows who you want to know!
Having like-minded business owners to talk to also gives you the opportunity to get advice from them on all sorts of things related to your business or even your personal life and obtaining that important work-life balance. Networking is a great way to tap into advice and expertise that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get hold of. Just make sure you are getting solid advice from the right person – someone that actually knows about what you need to know and is not just giving you their opinion on something that they have no or very little experience in.
5. Raising your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. Make sure you regularly attend business and social events that will help to get your face known. You can then help to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more leads and referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they need what you offer.
6. Positive Influence
The people that you hang around with and talk to do influence who you are and what you do, so it is important to be surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting people that help you to grow and thrive as a business owner. Networking is great for this, as business owners that are using networking are usually people that are really going for it, positive and uplifting.
7. Increased confidence
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, you will get increased confidence the more you do this. This is really important as a business owner, because your business growth is very dependant on talking to people and making connections. Networking is great for people that aren’t confident as it really pushes them to grow and learn how to make conversations and lasting connections with people they don’t know. I was certainly not confident when I started networking, in fact it completely petrified me! But as I do it more, the more confident I get and the easier it becomes, and the more benefit I get from it.
8. Satisfaction from helping others
I really love helping other people, and networking is a fantastic way that allows me to do this easily. Networking is full of business owners that have problems or issues within their business that need solving, and there is great satisfaction from helping someone to solve a problem they have and get a fantastic result from it.
Lastly, this one is more personal related rather than business related, but is a big benefit none-the-less. Many friendships form as a result of networking because (mostly) you are all like-minded business owners that want to grow your businesses, and you meet and help each other regularly, so naturally strong friendships tend to form. Some of my strongest friendships have been started from networking.