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What is Business Networking and is it important?
It’s very simple to start with Robert Kiyosaki’s much quoted quote (and that’s just by me!)
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.”
But what Is Business Networking?
Networking is a very misunderstood business art – or is it a science or a mixture of both?.
Networking is communicating with people with the objective of establishing a mutually beneficial (business – perhaps to begin with) relationship. A simplified way to look at networking is a simple exchange of energy. This energy may be in the form of personal energy, information, data or other things of value, your enthusiasm , inspiration, connections, market intelligence, challenges in exchange for some (or all ) of the same from others. The key is that it is positive energy – if we are spending time with the sappers (a word used in one Apprentice series) -those people who drag all the energy from a conversation or even a room are probably not the best to be spending your valuable time with.
Is Networking Important?
Biased answer is YES!
Unbiased answer is also Yes!
Why – no one person can know all the answers, be good at overcoming every challenge, be inspirational, have great ideas, be super collaborative, have been there, done it and got the T-Shirt!
But, a carefully constructed network of connections, contacts, friends and associates can provide you, your business and your network with all of the above and more.
Your ability to succeed in your business (and life) will depend to a very large extent on the rapport you establish with key individuals in your life. These will be the people that you meet and engage with on a regular basis – and how simple is it to engage and connect nowadays? With LinkedIn, Twitter and a super CRM system things could not be easier – oh and I must add that you can still use the old fashioned ways of the telephone and I’m not talking about the apps – a call works wonders and ultimately face to face! There’s also a letter or postcard or even bulky mail – with a handwritten envelope you’re sure to stand out!
Business networking is when we are consciously looking to assemble a network of people that can assist us in succeeding in business.
A great example of this is in property – take an estate agent (commercial and/or residential) – a collaborative approach with a wealth management company (or IFA), a lawyer (and/or conveyancing company), with a building company, perhaps a landscape/gardening business, a home declutterer then there will be a lot of opportunities to work together helping grow each others businesses through recommendations – which after all are just a way of making people’s lives easier!
Then there are the links with the other businesses such as EPC, home inspection services, relocation specialists, recruitment companies, removal firms, installation companies (audio, IT, phones) and the many others that may be involved in the sale of homes/businesses that I have not listed – I am sure that you could add to this! The net result is this group is far stronger then one individual agent.
You could be setting up a new business and need expert advice on a name, a logo, a website, using social media, a marketing plan, telephones, intellectual property experts, HR Advice, legal aspects, copy writing services, your pop up banner, business cards, stationery, car, credit and cash facilities, bookkeeping services, medical cover, insurance, wealth planning, coaching support, restructuring services (if it doe not go as planned!)- all this support and expert advice is available through networking and more specifically in Business Network SW!
What are the Benefits of Business Networking?
It’s been stated (almost as often as Robert Kiyosaki’s quote!) that people buy from or refer to people they know, like and trust. The only way to establish this (and it is a high level, not superficial – there are I believe 12 levels of trust) level of trust is through face-to-face interactions.
Perhaps not the obvious way of thinking of this but here goes…..Would you have married your spouse after reading a brochure about him or her, or receiving a sales letter or visiting the website (I do know that there are some websites where you can do this!) or received a LinkedIn invitation or even a tweet? Of course not! The same applies to business – it takes face-to-face interactions in a relaxed environment to develop and deepen rapport.
With a multitude of networking contacts – some direct and some indirect, you can find everything you need for a successful business, employees to hire, a job for you, business intelligence, barter/contra contacts, or advice in a multitude of areas. And as was previously mentioned inspirational. positive thinking, enthusiastic people who will enhance and add to your success – and celebrate that with you.
Nothing can take the place of a wide range of trusted business contacts. It is the most valuable thing you can own. It really is and Porter Gales book – Your Network is your Net worth explains this far better than I ever could! Great article from Huffington Post here
If you would like to comment on what networking has done for you feel free to do so
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