Following our recent success of launching Sourced Investor Network Events across the UK, I wanted to share some key benefits of networking.
Why is networking a vital ingredient in your business or career growth/development?
Networking – it’s not selling, and it shouldn’t feel like you are selling or pitching to someone. If it does, then perhaps you should try a different group. Networking should be about building long term business relationships as well as a solid reputation. It involves meeting like-minded people who are open to passing business, share experience and are open to joint ventures – this may not come straight away, but as you get to know people, they will be open to doing business, and ultimately you can help each other out – that’s the main goal.
No matter what business you are in, you can’t be everyone and everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and through networking you can meet different individuals who will be able to fill in the gaps where needed. It’s crucial that you do turn up regularly, and build that relationship with people. It will show that you are persistent and reliable, and that in turn you would build trust and good reputation. It will also gradually give people the opportunity to get to know you on a more personal level.
Networking doesn’t have to be all about work – it is a process. I found that people will be more likely to work with you if they just generally like you for who you are, especially if you are open to helping them. London can be a very tough market to crack, and I have met my share of bullies that will last me a lifetime, but that doesn’t deter me – I am still building my network.
So why network?
- Networking generates business referrals – these may not immediately turn into sales, but you need to start somewhere and extending your network through referrals can be great;
- Networking will allow you to connect with people. If followed up correctly, these should be turned into future opportunities whether passing business, new introductions or JVs;
- At different events, you will get the opportunity to listen and learn, and pick people’s brains. Sure there will always be someone who will want to send you a bill afterwards, but I am sure that there are some people who will be able tell you how it is just from their own experiences;
- If you are start up business, networking is good for raising your profile and gathering a positive influence. Don’t forget that every business needs time to flourish, and business growth doesn’t just happen. Don’t forget that for most businesses, there are teams of individuals always working hard to achieve all the business goals, so be realistic if you are just starting out;
- Satisfaction from helping others and increased confidence. I very often meet people who just don’t like networking because they don’t feel they are confident or outgoing enough. My advice here is to meet the organiser and ask them to introduce you to some people on the day – it will be far easier to start these first conversations.