Sept 2018 – Successful business networking is all about making connections and nurturing these newly-established relationships. It also happens to be one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tactics available, especially for entrepreneurs who lie awake at night worrying about not having enough customers. According to Bloomberg, this is one of the contributing reasons why 80% of businesses fail within their first 18 months.
The appreciation for personal relationships in business is becoming more valued. This is because companies are realising that customers are more willing to conduct business with individuals whom they already like and trust. The old saying that “It’s not what you know but who you know” should actually be “It’s not what you know but how good your client relationships are.”
How Do I Start Networking?
Running a business is difficult enough so it is important to surround yourself with positive and uplifting people in your network. This can be done in a variety of ways and either online or offline.
What Is Offline Networking?
Offline networking involves attending business networking type of events which will allow you to establish and nurture professional relationships with like-minded people. It is crucial to be thoroughly prepared when attending these events and this goes further than simply handing out business cards. The Business Exchange holds a number of monthly business networking events which are well attended by its tenants as they have seen the value of these events.
However, to create an effective networking relationship, you need to maintain close ties with relevant business professionals on a regular basis, which includes online networking using social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters, etc.
What is Online Marketing?
An effective online strategy ensures that you understand what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve your online marketing efforts. In order to be effective on the various social media channels, you need to regularly communicate relevant information and monitor this content, as well as to respond to your network’s online conversations. Connecting on a personal level in business, through networking has never been more important or easier and the benefits are tremendous.
What Are The Benefits of Networking?
Multiply Your Connections
Networking is an excellent method of sourcing business contacts. It enables you to meet with influential people who are relevant to your business and provides further opportunities of being able to tap into their extended networks too.
Increase Your Business
One of the most obvious outcomes of business networking is that once established, your extended network will provide you with very high-quality leads which have great potential of becoming a future business if nurtured correctly.
Boost Your Brand
Another valuable result of effective networking is that it raises brand awareness – enabling both your personal and company branding to become more visible in the market. This is beneficial in that your immediate network will remember your brand when they, or a member of their own business network, require your products or services.
Become A Thought Leader
Online networking via social media can greatly assist in you becoming recognised as a thought leader within your industry. This is done through publishing regular, relative, informative and unique content relating to your industry. This may include corporate blog articles or white papers. In addition, as people tap into your expertise so you too can tap into theirs and problem-solving becomes a lot easier.
Cost-Effective Marketing Platform
Whether you are attending an event or following a formal online marketing strategy, both will serve to decrease your initial marketing costs. This is especially important for entrepreneurs who are starting out on a new business venture.
In summary, business networking, whether online or offline, is all about relationship-building. Relationships should be mutually beneficial in order to maximise their benefits. By continually connecting with new people and cultivating these professional relationships, you will be able to successfully leverage your network and help your business grow, while staying abreast of development within your industry.
For further information on how you can increase your business network, contact The Business Exchange or visit the website on www.thebusinessexchange.co.za