How Does Business Networking Work?
At its core, business networking is the process of using personal and business connections to ensure that you always have new customers, partners and people willing to lend you a hand in your business. It sounds very simple and straightforward, but to do it right can be very complex. A lot of people think business networking is only as difficult as showing up to the convention and handing out business cards, but there is so much more to it than that!
The problem with most people’s networking strategies is a lack of personal connection. If you go to a work function with a stack of business cards, hand them out, and return with a stack in return, you’ve barely scratched the surface of the networking process. The people who got your card probably will never contact you again, and you will barely remember who went with which card you brought home.
This impersonal method of accumulating contacts will not translate to any business advantage, and so is not true business networking. True business networking is networking for a specific purpose- to find business partners who can help you expand your circle of relationships that you can mobilize for mutual gain.
The key to business networking is to be focused and precise in your actions. When you meet people related to your business, you should always have a goal in mind of creating an active and beneficial partnership with them. You control what people you meet, the things you discuss, and how the relationship develops.
It is a good idea to do something at least once a week to try to network for the express purpose of benefiting your business. Meet a contact, go to a function, do something networking related. This habit will carry you a long way.
Many people get discouraged that their networking efforts are not always successful, but this is why it is so much important to cast a broad net. Most networking will not end in beneficial partnerships simply because of circumstance outside of your control.
The key is to keep at it. Continuing to make a concerted effort to network each week ensures that eventually you will have a breakthrough. This tenacity is what separates well-connected professionals from everyone else. A successful business networker has met thousands of potential partners and distilled out the most beneficial partnerships and reaps the rewards.
There are all kinds of different ways you can expand your circle of clients such as online marketing and offline advertising plus many others which should be part of your total marketing activities and you can connect with others in your field through social networking, speak to others who own businesses similar to your own, go to a work related function, or have lunch with an established connection and just talk business.
It can be hard to get started with business networking, but as you get more contacts, it will get easier and easier. The hardest part is starting, and that is why it is so important to start now. Get out there and start networking, and your business will benefit.