When it comes to business, there’s often a huge gap between knowledge and practice. While most people know what they should be doing to improve their business, few are actually making the right moves. For a variety of reasons, such as tight budget, being "too busy", and fear of "wasting time", people just aren’t taking the right steps to catapult their business to the next level.
One overlooked process is business networking. The simple process of meeting with people can transform the value of your business.
- benchmarking opportunities against competitors and similar-sized businesses
- comparing and discussing issues of common interest
- learning from others’ successes and failures
- getting professional help at low or no cost
- developing ideas, converting them into best practices
- participating in joint development, reducing costs due to economies of scale
- building self-confidence from outside encouragement
- recognizing others with your abilities, and a track-record of success
- empowering yourself and others through a community
- creating, revitalizing, and reinforcing personal relationships
- accessing decision-makers directly, bypassing assistants and secretaries
- experiencing the higher level of success through interdependence
- increasing clients by meeting your target audience
- expanding your network of people who plug your service
- expanding markets by generating business contacts in non-local regions
- integrating experts of specific practices into your organization
- joining with trusted suppliers for your business
- receiving valuable recommendations for proven services
- becoming an established and regular networking member, getting your face (and the business name) known
- putting a personal face to your widely known products and services
- meeting like-minded people can develop non-business relationships as well
- accessing to low cost products and services provided by relationships and contacts
- connecting with several people at once, saving you time and effort
Networking is often compared to advertising, which is clearly an unfair comparison. After all, advertising is like unloading a clip from an automatic weapon, and networking is like installing an undercover agent. Whereas networking involves a bit of time, and can yield big results with a few quality people, advertising is costly, has a narrow scope of purpose, and usually targets as many people as possible and yields small results with a quantity of people. Depending on the nature of your business, advertising may be worthwhile, but networking is almost always appropriate, and often overlooked.
Don’t cheat yourself of this amazing opportunity for your business. Get connected!