The importance of networking for small businesses

Networking is a vital component to growing your business and contending in today's extremely competitive market.

Networking
Networking will help your small business to expand and become recognised by competitors and consumers. Photo: FotografieLink, Pixabay.

Building a business from the ground up is incredibly difficult. There are a million things to do right and a million other things that can and likely will go wrong.

When you are faced with some of the difficulties of building your business and the chips are down, having people to support you may be just the very thing that picks you back up!

No one can truly explain the absolute importance of networking in the business world. The closest you will find to a correct explanation is within the sentence “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know”.

The reason for this is that you will need the help of others on your journey through entrepreneurship and others will likely need you. While they are networking and growing as a business, you’ll likely find you fall behind if you aren’t doing the same.

Many key opportunities are heavily wasted by failing to network effectively or even at all. So why do some people still not get the picture that networking is necessary, not only to their development as a business, but their SURVIVAL?

Here are a few reasons you NEED to start networking today, if you haven’t already begun, as a business owner.

Opportunities

Building your reputation amongst your peers is crucial for the development of your business. Why? Because you never know where another person’s ventures may take them and if you make a good enough impression and have proven yourself, you might be asked along for the ride.

This can mean new prospects for your business, more cash flow and maybe even a broader horizon for you to explore as an entrepreneur.

As a wise businessperson, you need to make the conscious decision to ensure you never pass up opportunities that can be found using things like networking.

Learn to Identify the Best Practices

Learning from others, as with any other form of work, is essential to success. Trying to build your business from the ground up will become a real problem for you if you don’t open yourself up to the potentials that can be reached by learning the methods of other business owners and their mistakes.

Running a business is similar to any other practice, in that it takes a lot of trial and error when trying to grow. Learning what worked and what didn’t from others who run a similar business will enable you to judge your choices more effectively. And ensure you do not make their mistakes.

Trends

Learning what is popular and what is not should be the most obvious thing on your list of things to do when building your business. Trends may not last long, but they are an excellent way to attract new customers to your business and encouraging them to stay loyal.

When putting this into practice, it is best to find out from peers what is and isn’t working for them. Sometimes, no matter the popularity of a trend, it may not work for some businesses, so it is best to find out if your peers are seeing positive results or not.

Increased Confidence

By regularly talking to people and making new connections, you’ll find that your self-confidence will sky-rocket. This is because you will feel good about the developments made by doing so, as well as the fact that you have made new friends and gained further experience in relating to others.

Gaining the ability to make new connections and friends becomes easier and easier with practice and you’ll quickly find yourself confident, not only on a business perspective, but in your personal life as well.

Networking with people who share a similar goal to you is what makes your business thrive. You will easily gain a much wider perspective on business and life in general once you’ve gained the ability to speak and relate to others confidently.

A good thing to remember when networking, though, is that it IS a give and take scenario. That means you need to be able to offer people you’ve networked with something in return for any help they may provide.

This does not necessarily mean money or objects, but perhaps simply a friend. It is unfair to network, expecting everyone to support you whilst you reap the benefits and sow none of the reward.

In the end, your business is your business (both I the literal and metaphorical sense). If you want to network, go ahead and try it! You’ll find a whole world of opportunities and other positive things come your way very quickly.

If you do not wish to network, you may want to start packing up your business and think about closing up, because there is not much chance, if any at all, that you will find the success you are looking for by not networking.