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Business Networking: How People Help People to Be Successful

12 min read

One of the most important parts of building and growing a company is business networking.

A robust and high-quality network can offer increased profit opportunities, industry knowledge, talent candidates, potential partners, and more.

However, building a network is an active process, and executives can’t expect it to happen on its own.

Let’s take a look at precisely what business networking is and how to be effective at it.

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What is Networking in Business?

Some smaller or newer companies may wonder: what is networking in business?

Essentially, networking is the process of establishing connections and relationships with other business owners, potential or current clients, customers, suppliers, and more. It goes far beyond just introducing yourself to someone and giving them a business card.

Ideally, forming these relationships helps to create mutual benefit for both parties. It involves your business helping the other business and vice versa through referrals, testimonials,

What is the Purpose of Networking with Other Businesses?

Gains do not necessarily mean tangible products or items, as it could simply mean the sharing of knowledge.

In fact, industry knowledge is often the largest benefit of networking. It allows you to be in the mix of emerging trends, changing landscapes, and industry news. This allows your business to make proactive moves or adjustments to stay on top instead of hearing things way down the pipeline and scrambling.

Furthermore, it helps to improve your brand awareness in general. The more people you meet and discuss your brand and goals with, the more your brand awareness will increase.

The people you meet may begin mentioning your brand to others, expanding this reach even further.

Misconceptions About Networking

Networking is commonly associated with connections that can be used for favors or assistance.

While this can be a general benefit of networking, it is so much more than that. It is the way to really make a name in the industry and develop further channels of growth for the business.

Don’t think about networking as a way to gain favors but rather as a mutual relationship with other professionals. Always look for how you can help, and the benefits will come back to you as you develop contacts.

Learning How to Network for Business

Realistically, learning how to network and mingle in the business world properly can take some practice.

However, there are some general methods and tips to get started, like the ones below.

Know your goals

The first important step in business networking is knowing your goals.

Figure out what you are trying to develop in your network before attending events or meetings. The goal for each networking opportunity doesn’t have to be complex, as it could simply be making new connections, learning the latest industry knowledge, and more.

Whatever it may be, it is better to go in with a general idea of what you want from the opportunity.

Don’t undersell yourself

Before involving yourself in a networking opportunity, try to develop a quick pitch of what you and your business do, your clientele, and what makes you stand out.

To build networking relationships and further opportunities, it is important to know and display your worth.

Learn to socialize

It will be pretty difficult to network if you are shy or introverted, but this can be overcome. Practice your conversation skills among your staff or out in public. Practice some icebreakers to be ready for networking situations. Try to break out of that shell to make it easier when it is time to engage at networking events or meetings.

Socialize outside of work

It is critical to practice your socialization off work hours as well.

Networking isn’t something you only do during work, as there may be many opportunities outside of these hours as well.

You may find that you make incredible networking connections at a local fitness group or with other parents at your child’s sports or band practice.

This isn’t to say that you can only talk about work no matter where you are, but don’t miss opportunities just because you consider yourself off the clock.

After all, these other individuals may be looking for opportunities just as much as you are.

Stay positive

When creating new networking relationships, try to avoid speaking negatively about past business relationships, employees, etc. This is not a good image, as new contacts may think you could speak negatively about them as well.

Stay mutual

Remember that networking is meant to be a mutual benefit.

It will be difficult to maintain these relationships if you are always looking to them for help, favors, or advice. Try to find opportunities to assist your contact as well. This is what truly helps networking relationships thrive.

Listening is a critical skill in the business networking world. Listen to how you can help the potential contact rather than purely how they can help you.

Be confident

When you do look for your contacts for assistance or advice, be confident and bold about it.

Don’t beat around the bush or be afraid to ask for what you want or need. Being transparent and truthful can help to strengthen your business relationships, and your contacts will often appreciate you being upfront.

Maintain your connections

The last thing you want to do is make a new contact and then let it fade because you haven’t seen or spoken to them for some time. You want to do whatever you can to maintain relationships and stay in touch, whether briefly or occasionally.

Reach out to contacts a few times a year to keep in touch.

It doesn’t have to be a phone call for an extensive conversation. It could be as easy as sending them a brief note, inviting them to a conference you are attending, or an article about a common topic between the two of you.

This helps to prevent networking relationships from fading, and they may also begin to do the same with you if they aren’t already.

Business Networking Can Offer Mentorship

Networking gives you the chance to brush elbows with industry veterans who have decades of experience. Bonding with these high-level individuals gives the opportunity to develop a mentorship-type relationship.

You will be able to pick up advice for methods and ideas that you may not have developed until you are decades into your own career. Instead, these individuals have done a lot of the footwork for you and are giving you invaluable information to forward your own endeavors.

Where to Network for Business

Realistically, networking opportunities can present themselves in many different ways and places.

However, there are specific events and places where business owners and executives can be sure to find networking opportunities, including:

  • Professional associations: For consistent networking opportunities, you can join professional organizations. This can include groups like Executive networking groups, the American Marketing Association, and more.
  • Business seminars: Seminars typically include entrepreneurial guest speakers on specific topics related to their industry. These can be excellent events for learning, expanding contacts, and exchanging information.
  • Networking groups: Networking groups like the Chamber of Commerce can be great places to build your network. These groups function as an exchange of information, support, and ideas.
  • Attend company events: If you are an employee at a company, don’t skip company events, retreats, etc. These are excellent opportunities to connect with colleagues, upper management, and professionals within the company itself. In fact, this can be the perfect starting pad for your network. Don’t forget to bring some business cards to exchange with others as well.
  • Online networking: If there are no events or physical groups to attend, online is a great place to begin your networking. Connect with other professionals in your area through social media or business platforms like LinkedIn. Reach out to old friends or colleagues with similar business interests or those in related industries.
  • Webinars: Webinars are essentially just seminars held online. They may not be as effective as meeting with professionals in person, but it is still effective for those who cannot make the time to get to a physical event.

The Power of Business Networking

Realistically, networking is key to success in the business world.

All of the big names and power players succeed through networking. After all, no man is an island, as they say. We all benefit when we can help each other and offer advice or assistance in situations.

As you develop your network and skills, you can help others do the same.

Some business owners or professionals may think they don’t need to network because they are doing just fine in their current situation.

However, they often don’t realize how much effective networking can push their career and success to a higher level than ever.

Don’t ever neglect the power of networking.

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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