Many small business owners tend to keep their heads down and stick to a routine, but meeting new people is an important way to create new business and generate fresh ideas.
Imagine how much progress you could make by meeting one new person a week – that’s 52 people a year. And yes, we do include holidays in that. After all, you never know where a casual chat with a waiter or hotel manager might lead.
We show you some of the biggest benefits of networking.
Open doors to new business
You’re always on the lookout for new customers and clients. Getting your name out there will raise your profile and help you identify new business opportunities. Networking is a great way to broaden your horizons.
The more people who know who you are and what you do, the more recommendations you’re likely to get. You can win an awful lot of business through word of mouth, so make a point of going to conferences and business breakfasts.
Get ahead of the recruitment game
Are you looking for driven salespeople? Or a social media guru perhaps? If you have a wide circle of acquaintances, the chances are that you’ll know someone who fits the bill or at least someone who can recommend the ideal candidate.
The hiring process is often laborious, and you probably don’t have the time to be interviewing lots of candidates. Filling a role is much easier if you already have names in your contacts book you can turn to.
Even when you’re not officially recruiting, you’re still recruiting…
Generate new ideas
Talking about business with others is a brilliant way of learning new ways to do things. As an entrepreneur, you might still be relatively inexperienced, so getting advice and guidance from people you respect is invaluable.
Discovering how others in your game attract business helps you generate new ideas, and might even encourage you to adapt their innovations and solutions to problems within your own firm.
Meeting other entrepreneurs who share your drive and enthusiasm is extremely inspirational.
Hear directly from customers
Sometimes it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand and persuade yourself that everything is hunky dory. But you’ll only be successful if you get to know the very people you’re trying to impress – your customers.
It’s not something that should be delegated – meet them face-to-face. You need to hear directly what’s both good and bad about your business. That’s the best way to improve. Having a personal relationship with your customers goes a long way to building trust and loyalty.
Keep up to date with industry news
There are several benefits to keeping tabs on what’s going on in your industry. To start with, it’ll help you develop expertise in your particular field, and you’ll earn the trust and respect of your peers.
You’ll also make better decisions as you’ll be able to spot threats and opportunities early on, which can give you the edge over your competitors. For example, the sooner you know about changes to legislation, the sooner you can start preparing for them so they don’t come as a shock.
Get yourself out of the office to attend conferences, industry events and training sessions.
Posted by Sara Cano