For many, networking is a loaded term. It conjures images of corporate bigwigs hobnobbing while leaving their employees back in the offices doing the Real Work. Having coffee, trading business cards, these aren’t what come to mind when you think about “hard work” or “productiveness.” But the reality is that networking can be really beneficial for companies. Particularly SMEs and startups trying to get their name out there.Business owners and employees alike shouldn’t underestimate what these networking opportunities can offer to their organizations. Here we’ll show why networking and making connections can be as profitable as anything you do in the office and well worth your time.
These meetings, live events, and meet and greets are perfect chances to find out what people are looking for, what they’re providing, how you fit in the bigger picture, and even make deals. If you’re able to provide that which is in demand, then your business is set to gain new and loyal clients. On the other hand, if they’re offering something your startup needs, then it’s an opportunity to strengthen your organization. You can stand to gain so much just from the time you took to have a coffee or phone call with someone. How’s that for time well spent?Making connections can be profitable even when it happens indirectly. Your pitch might not produce results immediately. But if you make an impression, they’ll remember and suggest you to their friends who are looking for what you’re offering.In fact, that’s how Virtual Biznest got our most recent clients. Here’s one example: When Lotte Loveridge of The Fit Farmer
met Carolynne Harvey during a live event, they networked and the former suggested VBN to Lotte after she spoke about her business’ needs. Through this brief chat, Lotte and her startup are now greatly benefiting from working with VBN. And this isn’t the first time, either!And the best thing is, this isn’t just reserved for business owners. Individual employees and Virtual Assistants can find opportunities for things like career advancement or lucrative projects by going out there and mingling.
Sharing Big Ideas
The allure of the entrepreneur is like that of a ship captain. A leader above the rest charting a course through unknown waters. But if you’ve got a shipful of sailors depending on your leadership, or an office full of employees, wouldn’t it be prudent to trade notes and receive advice from your peers? Asking for directions is sound policy for when you’re driving to a new destination, and the same holds true for running a business.With networking, you have the chance to learn about your peers’ experiences, what they did right, and the hurdles and mistakes they’ve faced. These are obviously useful in gaining the savvy needed to capitalize on opportunities while avoiding the errors they made.You could also be the one offering sage advice to those who could use a hand. Helping is great for its own sake, and in the world of business it is also a way to win new friends who could return the favor when you’ve hit a slump.Networking can be seen as an exchange of ideas that can enrich all parties. It can even become a brainstorming session that leads to new ventures or partnerships. Everyone can come out of it stronger.
Aside from meeting new faces, exchanging ideas and sealing deals, these moments are also crucial for nurturing your established relationships. You can check in on partners and clients, see how they’re doing and connect in a way that’s simply impossible with emails and phone calls. Strengthening these bonds is beneficial on both the business and personal sides of things. After all, these shouldn’t be seen as merely financial or reciprocal transactions. These are at their core human interactions – and there’s no price for being genuine. It’s the healthy thing to do.
Raising Visibility and Making Things Happen
You can see networking as “your moment to shine.” There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn. Show what you’ve got, what your business is about and why it stands out, and ultimately gain recognition for it. In fact, it’s the right thing to do, even when you haven’t cinched deals or brainstormed cunning plans. It’s part of building your brand and solidifying your credibility – to all audiences. The results may not be immediately apparent, but by being seen and heard, by establishing a reputation, you are going to change the game in the long run
Working Smarter at its Finest
This is what we mean by that catchphrase and why it’s important to have the leeway to engage in such activities. You need to be able to free yourself from the hustle and bustle of the workplace. Pull yourself out of the grind and get the perspective and breathing room you need. You can’t afford to go without this space, this capacity, otherwise all sorts of opportunities might pass you by. So delegate a day or two’s worth of work to your Virtual Assistant. Save some time for networking, go out there and form those connections… and watch your business grow!Got stories of how networking helped you and your organization? Feel free to drop a comment!-John Li