By Tervel T Kejih
According to Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, “Succeeding in business is all about making connections; it is all about personal contact’’. Understandably, there are other factors involved in succeeding in business but if you tick the box on all other factors but fail to make the grades where networking and building connections with other people is concerned, you will most likely not make it into the box office of business success.
When it comes to your business, it is vital that you know your stuff. But a lot of times, it is not just about what you know but who you know. Many times, knowing the right people has turned out to be the difference between success and failure in business.
This is why networking effectively so to enlarge the pool of people that you have connection with is vital for you as an entrepreneur. The larger your network, the higher your chances of achieving your business goals. The more people you know and have connection with, the more opportunities you will come across as an entrepreneur.
The following points highlight how effective networking will help you in your journey as an entrepreneur:
It Will Help You Generate New Business
I am guessing that constantly generating new business is one of your core objective as an entrepreneur. This is why you should be joining networking groups and participating in their activities.
When you join groups, you get to know people and what line of business they are into. They in turn, get to know you and your line of business. Subsequently, you get referrals coming to you when the people you know in your networking group recommends your business to their friends and relations.
The great news is that the referrals that you get through your network of contacts are usually easiest to convert into clients because they come pre-qualified. In these instances, the referral would have been more than half-way sold on your service or product by your contact who referred them. You can then easily follow up the individuals and turn them into clients, thus generating increased business.
It Opens the Doors for You to Influential People
Networking opens the door for you to meet and talk to really influential people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able easily meet or talk to.
By belonging to business groups to which some influential business people also belong, you get the opportunity to meet with, talk to and actually build a relationship with such influential people at the meetings of these business groups. Knowing that in business, it is not always about what you know but who you know, having relationships with influential people whom you can call upon when you need them can be a huge leverage for you as an entrepreneur.
In addition, it is not just about who you are networking with directly. Whoever you network with has a network of their own which you can tap into if the need arises. There may be occasions when the person you have built a connection with may not be in the position to help you with what you need but they may have someone in their own network who fit the bill of the kind of person you need. So as you network and build connections with people, do remember that you do not only stand to benefit directly from the influential people you network with but also from their own network.
It Gives You the Opportunity to Get Advice from Like-Minded Business Owners
No one knows it all and that includes you. So having a network that constitutes of like-minded and successful entrepreneurs from whom you could learn a thing or two could be real beneficial to you. Especially if you are someone just starting out, there is so much that you do not know. Networking with the right sort of people will help you learn all you need to.
A note of caution though. You should be networking with and seeking advice from the right sort of business owners – Folks who are successful in their businesses so that you can be sure that they know what they are talking about. You should not bother with people who give opinions based on assumptions and not what they have proven by experience in their businesses.
Another thing, being an entrepreneur is challenging and the journey can be lonely on occasions, particularly when you are faced with a dilemma that you have never dealt with previously and you are at a lost how to proceed. At such times, having a like-minded entrepreneurs who has probably dealt with and overcome a similar situation, to whom you could turn for counsel might just be what will save the day for you.
It Will Raise Your Profile and That of Your Business
By networking and connecting with influential business people, you will raise your profile and that of your business in a way that not many activities will do. First off, by being noticed with success and influential business people will affect the way many people see you and your business. In the eyes of many people, you will be seen as a knowledgeable and competent business person and your business as a reliable one that delivers results for its customers. So as you network and develop relationships with influential business people, look to attend social events where you will be seen with them. And if your business organize any event that you think you can get them to attend, by all means do it. Their presence at your business event will serve as a huge endorsement which will raise your reputation in no small measure.
It Will Boost Your Self-Confidence
One of the magic of developing self-confidence is doing that about which you usually have goose pimples and succeeding at it! The more you successfully push yourself to network by walking up and talking to people you are not acquainted with, the more your confidence will increase. As you become more confident, the easier it will be for you to strike up conversation with people you don’t know and ultimately build connections with them. This is very important for you as an entrepreneur because the growth and success of your business is dependent, to a large extent on you talking to people and making connections with them.