There are many dirty words in business (that is another post all together) but the one I want to talk about today is … Networking.
There, I said it. It wasn’t that bad now, was it?!
Networking is fast becoming one of those words that brings terrible images to mind or sends shivers down your spine. It’s one of those things that you think you probably should be doing, but you really can’t bring yourself to stand in a room full of strangers who are all trying to push their business card into your hands, who are all determined to tell you what they do, and how you really must buy their “widget”.
You see networking doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s get something straight right from the beginning – people connect to people. Not to some latest gadget or cheapest widget, but to the people it helps to connect them to. We buy based on connection, connection to others, connection to the guy behind the counter and sometimes connection to our hard earned cash (yes you, the one with the moths flying out of your wallet).
In fact one of the best phrases you can hear when you are looking for a product or service is – “I know a mate who can help you”. This can be easily interchanged with “my uncle Bruce will give you a great price” or “I have a friend who will look after you”.
We want someone to tell us who to use, someone to tell us that we can trust them, and we don’t just want to pick willy nilly from the phone book (If anyone even uses one anymore, that is).
And that is where networking comes in. By building connections to people in the local community, to other business owners and even with your friends and neighbours, you encourage them to spread the word.
There are lots of different ways you can do this. Networking can be as simple as catching up with a group of mates at the local pub, or it can come in the form of organised groups like BNI or Chamber of Commerce.
However you decide to network, make it count. Make sure that you are taking the time to learn about others and how you can help them, don’t become that pushy salesman (you know, the one we mentioned at the beginning of this post.)
Still not convinced… You know that you should be networking, but you just can’t take time away from your business during the day. Or worse still, you are still not really sure that you will get anything out of it.
Come and join us for Local Business Brainstorming. Networking with a twist. You get to spend the evening networking with a group of great local business owners, whilst brainstorming new ideas and concepts for you business, to help you gain more customers, make more money of social media, or even design your next product range.