Networking is essential to building your business and I have gained the majority of my clients using this method. There are lots of free groups out there and I suggest you attend a few and then stick with the ones you feel most appropriate and where your target audience can be found. Attend them regularly so that you can get to know people, this all helps with building trust and gaining a great reputation for your business (Read my blog for tips on how to master networking).
Here are my seven top reasons for networking:
1. Networking will help you to build relationships. You will start to build up trust with each of the members and this will help you to gain new business. You will also gain knowledge from others and probably make new friends!
2. You will learn new skills. Other members may provide training that you can sign up to and learn from. Exchanging skills with others will not only help you make new contacts but also add value to your business.
3. Some groups will allow their members to provide a short talk on their area of expertise. If you can do this it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and promote your business.
4. You may find businesses that compliment your own work by offering a service that you don’t but that will be useful to your clients. Referrals and collaboration can be used here to help each other out.
5. You will have the opportunity to practice your pitch (elevator speech). Try and create a 1-minute speech to tell people what you do and how your business can help those in the room. Sticking to a minute makes you look professional and keeps people’s interest. Doing this over and over gives you the chance fine-tune your words and grow your confidence.
6. If you’re looking to expand your business then networking can be a great way of recruiting. You’ll have built up relationships within your networking group so it’s a good place to start when looking for new team members.
7. The final reason to network is so you get the chance to socialise. Being in the company of other like-minded business people will motivate and inspire you. It’s also a great opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.