The pandemic has created interesting changes for all business functions that require socialization. In fact, it has given rise to the virtual networking event, where increased access has allowed more people to attend, compared to in-person counterparts. It’s also much cheaper and more sustainable for businesses to send representatives to these meetings, where they can develop contacts across industries.
Many young professionals, however, are under the impression that networking is for gregarious sales people or expert senior employees. Not everyone who goes to networking events was born confident; rather, most attendees have slowly built-up their social skills through practice. They were able to cultivate connections throughout the years, then mutually leverage these mature relationships for their businesses. Challenging as it may be to get into networking, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Here are some benefits of networking for your company:
Broadens access to new talents and suppliers
Networking can send new business leads your way. The people you meet have access to resources you probably don’t, and vice versa. This means they’re in a good position to help you if you’re struggling to recruit for job vacancies, or looking for a particular skill set. Aside from talent, they can also introduce you to new suppliers. Although the global supply chain disruption is slowly starting to ease as vaccination numbers rise, it’s always good to have a backup plan. You may be able to identify new suppliers from among network members, or get their recommendations.
Provides solutions to business problems When you encounter a business problem, you will undoubtedly meet someone who experienced a similar issue at a networking event. They can offer valuable advice, potential solutions, and best practices so you can move forward. And even if there is no definitive answer, you’ll still have a solid sounding board to discuss your ideas with. Of course, you should make it a point to give back and lend others a hand as well. The key is not to let relationships drop to zero. Every week, aim to talk to four people you haven’t spoken to in a while, but wish to connect with. Try to help them with their problems, or introduce them to other people who can. Is your friend agonizing over law school? Put them in touch with a neighbor who recently graduated. The mindset of networking is that we’re all here to give each other a boost. Opens doors for marketing opportunities Small businesses — whether they’re B2B or B2C — need to cultivate relationships with other organizations and individuals to reach more people. In order to become an effective networker, research how successful people do it. A professional with marketing credentials will know how to take advantage of the opportunities presented in networking. Since marketing is a multifaceted and highly-connected discipline, their experience in strategic business operations allows these professionals to make the most out of a network. These inter-industry connections can eventually lead to marketing partnerships, collaborations, or other deals which can attract more attention to your products. Moreover, networking works well if you’re trying to break into new markets, deepen customer understanding, identify competitors, and do other forms of market research. Benchmarks business performance within the industry Benchmarking measures how your business is performing against similar organizations. When you network with other businesses in your industry, you gain a better understanding of your strengths and areas for improvement. Plus, your network can be a rich source of new developments within your field, like legal requirements, cutting-edge technologies, or the latest trends to keep up with. This information exposes you to insights you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. The American Business Engine offers networking benefits, where members are regularly updated on upcoming events in their area. Apply for a membership with us today.
Written exclusively for Arkansasbusinessengine.com
by Abby Childress