Networking is an essential part of any successful business. It can help you raise the profile of your company, share new ideas, and increase sales. But what are the best ways to network? To help you learn about the unique networking methods, we asked 14 professionals from the Forbes Coaches Council to share their “secret strategies.” Networking opportunities come in many forms and are constantly changing. To stay ahead of the curve, research current trends to decide which activities are best suited to your company.
Networking creates trust, since your company and the methods you have used to manage and administer it are competitive and comparable to those of similar companies. For example, if your company needs the services of an accountant, lawyer or other professional, you can find the ideal candidate through your network. Networking in these centers must be done with a strategic plan, which allows your centers of influence to be in a position to recommend you and attract business to you. Often, it's the networking efforts of a business owner that produce the most results in small businesses. Find and attend some business seminars, cultivate new working relationships with your new colleagues and business partners, and then communicate regularly to help them keep up to date. Business networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other entrepreneurs and customers or potential customers.
Business networks can allow you to raise awareness or keep abreast of the latest trends or technologies in your industry. Many local businesses are still done through a handshake, and the best way to establish contacts with other local business owners and entrepreneurs is through business groups. The main purpose of business networks is to tell others about your company and, hopefully, convert them into customers. Networking helps you identify opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures or new areas of expansion for your business. Much local business is still done through a handshake, and the best way to network with other local business owners and entrepreneurs is through face-to-face meetings and local business groups.
There are also many online groups that offer networking services and communities; LinkedIn is an example of a large group or networking site that can bring together professionals. Business networks give entrepreneurs the ability to collaborate with other experts to help them grow their businesses or improve their professional lives. The most important skill for establishing effective business networks is listening; focusing on how you can help the person you're listening to rather than how they can help you is the first step in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.