Because when you stop and take a look around, life is pretty amazing!
Why Networking is so Important: It's Not Who You Know, It's who Knows You
Building relationships, developing reciprocity, getting known and trusted for what you do, are all products of effective networking.
Have you ever stopped to think about who you're currently working with, how you met them, who introduced you to them, what you've been able to do as a result? What do you do now as a result of knowing them?
THAT'S the power of networking!
Networking is something that I enjoy and do regularly across both of my businesses. I've attended many different types of networking events and activities over the years and now regularly host networking events for small businesses, including the regular Coffee Connect and Chat events I host for wedding industry colleagues.
Online groups are a great place to make new connections and to develop existing ones. That's why I belong to a fair few Facebook groups and why I run my own Facebook community - Above and Beyond The Kitchen Table. But don't forget and never underestimate the power of face to face meetings. Good face to face opportunities can create lasting impressions in the minds of the people you meet and could ultimately lead to future opportunities for both parties.
"Networking is not about just connecting people. It's about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities." - Michele Jennae
I have a happy mix of in person and online networking activity for my businesses. It's helped me to meet so many incredible people and to develop some wonderful relationships. That old saying that "people buy from people" is one that I absolutely stand by. Work and opportunities have flowed into both of my businesses and I have referred work to others because of those relationships. Not because of the cold exchange of business cards or any hard selling, but because trust and reciprocity have been established and developed.
"If people like you they'll listen to you, but if they trust you they'll do business with you." - Zig Ziglar
I know that "networking" is something some business owners avoid or are hesitant about, often because of negative past experiences or perhaps because it's something they find challenging as an introvert. That's why with the networking events that I host, I generally avoid using the word "networking" in the title of the event. It's a small thing but trust me, for some, even the title can put them off. It's also why I previously posted my Simple Guide to Networking for Introverts.
I recently asked attendees of my in person meet ups to describe their experience in 1-2 sentences and here's what some of them said:
Really useful and great to meet such a great group of wedding peeps who are great at what they do. I’ve formed collaborations and friendships from these meets. Even though it takes valuable time out of your working week I have found they are really worthwhile attending
An uplifting, inspiring way to network and make new friends. Always helpful for asking those questions of other business owners you might otherwise feel silly asking.
An environment that is inclusive and welcoming. A place where even parents with a young child in tow can come along and still be able to network with like minded people. This is so important for small, family run businesses that can't simply stop because the family expands
My kind of networking! Friendly, informal yet so valuable too. I have formed great friendships and collaborations with like minded industry colleagues as a result of these meet ups.
So how about you? What's been your experience of networking? Are you doing enough of it?
Until next time,