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Why should business owners network?

Lots of business owners and employees attend networking events across the world. From small locally organised events through to large corporate events, networking can help businesses to grow, make new contacts and venture out into new areas.

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But what other benefits does networking offer to a business?

Business networking comes in many different forms and different businesses will benefit from different events. Sometimes it’s just a case of getting yourself out there, especially for start-ups, and attending as many events as possible can really get your name ‘on the map’.

At Urban Feather, we have tried a few different events over the years and have found that referral networking is the most beneficial for us. In particular, the BNI networking organisation has helped us to get past the gatekeepers and speak to the people who can really make the decisions about a company’s marketing.

Most people attend marketing events to find new work for their business. Taking time out of the day (whether that be early mornings, lunchtimes or evenings) does eat into the working week and everyone will need to see results in order to justify going. Of course, an increase in revenue and profits is the ultimate result for the business, but how many businesses think about the secondary benefits of networking?

We’ve listed a few that you might like to consider:

Personal Development

Seeing yourself or your staff grow in confidence is extremely rewarding. Many people dread the thought of public speaking or entering a room and not knowing anyone we’ve all been there! By continuing to network on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis; the comfort zone gets bigger and before long networking just becomes the norm.

Trusted Suppliers

Being able to recommend and trust a supplier to do the utmost for your business or anyone you recommend them to is paramount. After all, you’ve recommended them and anything they do reflects on you.

A Wider Circle of Friends

For many who regularly network it’s safe to say you make new friends, not only attending business events together, but sometimes making the leap into social friends as well.

Professionals ‘On Tap’

There’s something quite nice about knowing you have help when a situation arises; especially when it’s someone you can trust. How many business people can call up a professional, text them on an evening, or drop them an email at the weekend to ‘pick someone’s brain’. There is always someone in your networking circle who will have already ‘been there and done that’ and is available to give free advice.

The Extended Network

A common occurrence in business is wanting or needing to contact somebody you’ve never met before, with the intent of selling or otherwise. Through networking, the chances of having a mutual acquaintance increases greatly. The six degrees of separation theory makes it highly likely that even if none of your fellow networkers know the person you’re searching for, they may know somebody who does.

As you can see, the secondary benefits of networking can potentially outstrip the monetary benefits to your business when you think about and appreciate them. These benefits are the ones that many business owners miss the most when they’re gone, and are often the reasons for their return.

So before you measure your networking success, consider the additional benefits of any events you attend and truly decide if it’s worth continuing with.

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