In today’s world, it is not easy to start and successfully manage a business for any young entrepreneur. While a good percentage of your success is dependent on your business idea, the key player in one’s success is their ability to sell their ideas to everyone else. This is why it is essential for small business owners to be a confident individual, who not only believes in his idea, but can also successfully endorse it in front of their business connections, in order to gain potential business partners or clients. One of the most effective ways to this is to build your own business network. This can be achieved by joining your local chamber of commerce or any other organization serving as local networking and socialize with other successful business owners to help your business grow.
However, we all know not everyone can be an extrovert. Unfortunately, where for some people socializing alone can be a highly intimidating task, socializing to build business connections can be a completely new level of difficulty, because their business growth would depend on it. In fact, going out, making local connections and endorsing your business can be a little frightening for anyone- extrovert or not. However, we guarantee you that building local networks is sure to give your business the boost it needs. Not only that, you will also see that the difficulties faced in business networking are far outweighed by the benefits you would get in return.
Business networking has long been one of the basic essentials in helping businesses take off. While the integral role of social media cannot be denied in developing local connections, it has its own limitations. Business communications and advertisements fail to build trust among people. This is where local networking greatly exceeds the social media in being effective. It has been backed by extensive research that small entrepreneurs who take part in face-to-face business networking saw more business growth than what they would have by merely advertising and trying to reach out to the clients through the internet.
Moreover, surveys also show that in-person meetings help in improving the business by building a rather personal relationship between the businesspersons and the clients. This is also efficient in building trust between the two parties, which in turn forms a strong bond between a business and their clients. Consequently, statistics show that business connections acquired in meetings like these proved to be long term.
Other than this, face-to-face meetings also enable people to discuss their ideas comprehensively. It allows them to voice their concerns, debate each other’s opinions, and systematically solve problems by thinking strategically. This is crucial in instilling teamwork among the businesspersons.
Are you still not convinced to crawl out of your shell and become a part of these groups? Well, good for you that below we have listed and elaborated upon a few of the several reasons why you should start local networking today.
You get referrals
Like any Community, the business community also works on the same give and take principle. One of the major benefits of business networking is to score referrals. You attend local networking events, impress everyone by talking about how promising your business is, and there you go; referrals right there. Simple enough, right? Well, not exactly!
Unfortunately, getting referrals takes a lot of time, commitment, and patience. You cannot just score a referral by simply having a promising idea, it takes a lot more than that. One of the major factors considered when it comes to people’s endorsing you is your reputations.
To build a good rapport with people, it is essential that you endorse them too. You must have heard the old saying: what goes around comes around. Getting to know different business owners, and referring them to their appropriate potential clients, establish good terms between you and others. This is crucial in aiding you to gain enough friends to refer you to new clients. Thus, always remember that a competent business and good rapport with others go hand in hand to help you achieve a wide clientele.
Local connections are built
The magic of business networking is not in obtaining local connections, but in obtaining business from those connections. In these groups of people, you are likely to meet people whose ideas, beliefs, and thoughts are compatible with yours. Once you find these people, it is not only them you connect with, you connect with their business connections too! Since your connections’ business sense is likely to be similar to yours, their business connections would probably be the most helpful to you.
This meshwork of local connections will make you popular among other businessmen. Consequently, you will become more confident around those who know you, and would be able to elaborate on your business ideas better than before.
You get the experience – a lot of experience
You are a young businessperson who has all kinds of hopes and ambitions for your little venture. But do you have enough years on your resume to give your business the time and focus that it needs? Can you make all the right decisions to take your business where you want to? You probably don’t. Here is where years and years of experience of other members from the local networking will help you.
While making mistakes and learning from them is an integral part of any business, a smart entrepreneur not only learns from their own past, but also from others’ past. Thus, successful business owners from your business network who have been in your shoes once are the best people to learn from. Their guidance can help you make better decisions. This will help you climb the ladder of success much quicker than how you would have on your own. So, make sure to surround yourself with the experts in your field.
Someone might mentor you
Find a mentor! No matter how many times it is repeated, written, or said, it is never enough; you absolutely have to find a mentor! While there are many who will be willing to share their expertise with you, you have to have someone that you can refer to as your ‘go-to person’. You can go when you need suggestions, feedback, and motivation to this person.
Think of it this way: nobody directly gets to where they want without somebody steering their wheel. A medicine graduate works under and report to a resident before they can be considered a reliable doctor, a law graduate has to do associate work for a senior lawyer before going solo, and an engineer has to do an internship before getting a good job. They all need people they can shadow to learn, and so do you. You have to find someone from your local network who would take you to their business meetings and negotiations to give you the first-hand knowledge of how to navigate your business.
Opportunities present themselves
It is not only experienced businessmen that you should surround yourself with, it is also important to know young, energetic individuals like yourself who would be willing to take huge leaps for success. Remember, you are not the only one who wants to be successful. There are others just as talented as you, as passionate as you, and as desperate as you who are waiting for their chance. You might be able to find common ideas and start up your own business venture, or merge your existing one with another similar business idea.
Starting joint ventures has numerous advantages. Multiple entrepreneurs can come together to launch a project, and provide it with what they can in their area of expertise. For example, suppose you have an idea, but not enough capital for a start-up, or not enough people to work for you, but if your partner can meet the needs that you cannot, the start-up is good to go! Also, now your business does not only have your own local connections and referrals as potentials clients, but your client’s business connections and referrals too.
You get benefits
As mentioned earlier, you are not the only one looking for success. There are many like you. Everyone wants to be well-known, and in each other’s good books, which is why many people in the local networking offer vouchers, discounts, or even business favours! This is important in order to build a better rapport and stronger local networking with people, so if you can be someone who can offer some benefits to the members of your network, you should too. It will also help you gain referrals.
You get noticed
The major problem when it comes to expanding a small business is its inadequate budget for advertising. If you are advertising as much as needed, not only are you not making any profit, but chances are that you are actually spending more on your business than your earning from it. Thus, it would be essential to find out a way that allows you to market your business without spending much money.
Social media is undoubtedly the first thing that comes to your mind. However, in-person local networking events could turn out to be even more effective. When you are a regular attendee of social events, you make yourself more publically known for absolutely free!
You earn credibility
Getting noticed will not do all the work. You have to get in others good books too! If they recurrently see you attending events, you have successfully conveyed the message you want them to know: you are serious about what you do, and have enough dedication to do it.
More often than not, the experts in your local network have seen people who start a business and then give up. Once they know you are not that person who is willing to give up on their ambitions any time soon, you would be exactly the kind of person they would want to work for them. This is when you get to pat yourself on the back, and congratulate yourself! Because this is the point from which you have started to score permanent business connections and their referrals too!
There are success stories all around you
A human being is a social animal. Each of us is designed to live and thrive with people around us. This is because, in a community, you are able to surround yourself with people who push you to work for success by either posing themselves as a threat, healthy competition, or a source of encouragement!
When you are networking, you see success stories all around yourself. Not only would it help you build business connections with successful people, but would also propel you towards success! Knowing the high achievers in your respective field, along with motivating you with their success stories, will bring out the competitive instincts in you and push you against your limits for you to work harder than before.
You build confidence
An entrepreneur should radiate self-belief and confidence. Similar to gaining motivation, a local network also helps you in gaining confidence. Confidence comes from two things: competence and practice. Half of your work is accomplished if your business is competent, however, the other half can only be achieved through local networking. When you regularly speak about your idea, product, or business in front of your business connections, you automatically perfect your communication skills and become more confident.