Networking – you either love it or hate it. Networking is a medium for people to connect, communicate and meet others. Through networking, business owners get to meet new partners and investors whilst leaders are given the opportunity to rise to bigger roles and responsibilities. Everyone can benefit from building their business network, and networking stands as one of the most important skills to have in today’s workforce.
Types of Networking For Leaders
As business leaders aspire to build their organization, they must acquire these three networks. It’s not an easy task, but rather a lifelong learning process. By networking effectively, you can open up huge opportunities for yourself and the people you meet along the way.
Personal networking is about expanding your professional development and trading referrals, mostly with people outside your organization. You might know them through a common interest or alumni and yet you can still rely on them for business purposes.
Strategic networking involves engaging the support of people who can assist you in reaching your strategic business goals. For example, the head of non-profit organization may like to connect with a celebrity who would be the face of fundraising pamphlets for free.
Operational networking is all about building professional relationships within your company to get a task done. For instance, a head of marketing could create a relationship with the public relation department to assist him in creating an advertisement that will engage the company’s potential customers.
As a leader, networking is vital. Some of the benefits are:
- Identifying opportunities and trends
- Widening your range of talents and skills
- Getting things done
- Generating new ideas
- Building confidence
- Getting recognition
Networking for Small Business Owners
Networking for small business owners involves building relationships with other people that operate in the same industry. This could help expand your business by finding potential customers and partners. The key in networking for the small business owner is to create credibility for your business.
1.Be Well Prepared With Succinct Speech
When meeting new people, always be prepared to give a simple yet informative speech about yourself and your business. First impressions are important in business and real life. Often, individuals who are confident with their speech get the deal. Understand your audience to make networking more efficient. Talk to people who share the same interests with you, or understand what your business is all about. The more interesting you are, the more attention will be paid to you.
2. Attend Networking Events
You have to pick and choose the type of networking events that you want to attend. Not all events are created the same and you need to analyze which networking events are worth attending. There are various types of networking events that you can attend such as conferences, business owner meet-ups and roundtable meetings. Attending networking events allows you to share information, seize opportunities, gather contacts for possible partnerships and joint ventures.
3. Internet Networking
To network, you don’t really have to be face-to-face with other people. There are various options for networking opportunities online. The internet provides a great window for professional networking that you should be aware of. Some of the social media you can get connections and exposure on include:
- LinkedIn – This social network caters primarily for business networking and is also suitable for small businesses. There are millions of individuals who are worth connecting with for your business benefits. You can follow users in your industry, join or start new forums and groups, publish useful information about your business and so much more.
- Facebook – Facebook has a huge amount of professional value for your business. Simply join a group or create a new group that focuses on your industry. Facebook groups feature tools that allow you to connect with other users, share information and discuss issues with each other.
Now that we know networking matters for both leaders and small business owners, it’s time to evaluate your network. Whether you are looking to lead or are already a leader or a new business owner, networking is an essential skill to learn and possess.