• News & Insights
  • The Importance of Business Networking Can’t Be Understated

The Importance of Business Networking Can’t Be Understated

Share this content

When most people picture ‘networking’ a few images usually come to mind. The first is handing out business cards to strangers at conferences, with the expectation they’ll end up in the wastepaper bin at the end of the day. The second is sending out resumes to HR managers, knowing they’ll spend about 30 seconds reading your carefully crafted letter.  

A Better Way To Network

Fortunately, true networking is a completely different game. It’s both more enjoyable and 100x more effective. Let’s look at how it works, and how you can become a skilled networker. 

What Is The Most Important Factor In Business Networking?

Before you start building a network, think carefully about your goals. Aiming to ‘network’ without a goal can be rewarding, allowing the power of serendipity to work.

However, having clarity about what you’re after is also helpful. That way, when people ask questions like: ‘what are you looking for,’ or ‘who can I introduce you to?’ you have an intelligent answer. 

What Is The Biggest Advantage of Networking?

business networking

A strong network has many advantages. It can be a powerful way to: 

Advance Your Career

Networking will introduce you to potential employers, or people in a company who can recommend you to their HR head or boss. 

Find Good Staff

Having a strong network can lead to you finding stellar employees, based on recommendations from other business owners and employees. It can also lead to you offering a job to people in your network. 

Networking Business Ideas

Your network can be a great source of insider information about what’s happening in your industry. If you have friends in other industries, this can also be a way for you to find out how larger trends can affect your business sector. 

Support & Advice

There’s a saying: ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Having a networking group with smart and well-connected people helps you refine your decision-making ability. It can also further your leadership skills as you learn from other capable business leaders. 

Joint Ventures & Alliances

The right joint venture or business alliance can grow your business faster than anything else. It can put you far ahead of your competition, or eliminate competition (by joining forces.)

Some business alliances are made in complementary industries, while others can be inside your own industry. Our article on networking for entrepreneurs is a good resource to get you started on this.  

Tips for Successful Networking

Preparation Before an Event

In order to make the most out of a networking event, preparation is key. Researching the event and its attendees will give you an understanding of the purpose and potential benefits of the event as well as identify key individuals you would like to connect with.

By learning about their interests and background, you can tailor your conversation and make a more meaningful connection.

Making a Good First Impression

Making a good first impression is crucial when it comes to networking. A smile, eye contact, and a friendly demeanor will help put others at ease and make them more likely to engage with you. Showing genuine interest in others by asking questions, listening actively, and truly being interested in what they have to say is important as well.

Following Up After the Event

The final step is to follow up with the people you meet after the event. In order to strengthen the connections made through networking, it is important to offer to help the person in any way you can and propose the next steps for further engagement.

This approach will help establish a sense of reciprocity and increase the likelihood of the relationship to grow. By being proactive in finding ways to help and engaging in follow-up, you are showing that you value the connection and are interested in maintaining and building the relationship further.

Types of Business Networking

There are many ways to build a business network. In this article, we divided networking into two different categories:

Conventional Networking

There are conventional methods, such as attending conferences or joining your local chamber of commerce. Being skilled at effective business communication will make it easier for you to connect with people there.

Less Conventional Networking

Then there are the less conventional, more organic ways. One of the best ways to build your network is simply to ask for recommendations from people you know in business. “Is there anyone you know in business who you think I’d enjoy meeting? Can you set something up?” It can really be that simple.

The Power of Networking

The power of a good network increases as your network expands. This means that as your network grows, you gain secondary connections to more people. The effect compounds on itself. Many successful entrepreneurs say their most important asset is their shared network with other people in business. The real key here is making sure you have a real relationship based on know, like, and trust.

Networking Philosophy

Don’t be a d*%#

“In nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important” – The Doctor

In their rush to connect with important or famous business figures, a lot of people turn to a business networking company, pushing past and ignoring the ‘nobodies’ at networking events. This is a mistake.

Apart from the obvious rudeness factor, you never know how fate may pan out. Karma has a sense of irony. That intern you brushed off yesterday could be the checkbook holder of a well-funded company in a few years. 

Don’t dismiss people as if they weren’t important. Because it simply isn’t true.

Business Networking Examples In Action

Another Tim Ferriss networking story: Tim was at SXSW, a huge tech conference and one of the biggest business opportunities he ever had at the time. He wanted to connect with the famous tech blogger Robert Scoble. Scoble was being mobbed by techie fanboys, so Tim spent his time chatting with a nice, quiet lady on the sidelines…who turned out to be Scoble’s wife.

After the mobbing, Mrs. Scoble drew her husband aside and said ‘I’d like you to meet this nice young man, Tim Ferriss.’ Being polite and attentive to the person right in front of you is the best way to network. 

In addition, if you do want to meet someone famous, their gatekeepers are the ones who control their appointment calendar. Being abrupt to a PA in an attempt to get to the person whose time they’re protecting is guaranteed to get you nowhere and a terrible networking plan.

Maintaining Your Network

You don’t need to allocate a career in networking to reap its rewards. The principle here is simple: keep in touch with your networking connections, and see how you can help them. And when you have a genuine request, reach out to people in your network who you think can help you, and ask them. 

Keeping in touch can be a formal thing: your group meets up every month for a networking event. Or it can be very informal – you email a colleague whenever something comes up you think would interest them. 

None of this stuff is rocket science – it’s the same way you’d keep in touch with a friend. The only difference is that this friend is someone you know in a business context. The principle is to put effort into the relationships you have with people that you know, like, and trust, and be helpful to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Coaches Specialising in Networking?

A really good sales coach, should also naturally be a networking coach. If you already see the benefits of networking, but it feels full of friction, then now is the time to talk to someone. This article will continue to give good advice, but it doesn’t serve as a teacher networking. Our strong recommendation is to submit an enquiry on our homepage and book a time to chat about frictionlessly learning to network well.

Does Networking Really Work?

The short answer is yes, it does. But only if you do it right. The reason why some people fail at networking is that they approach it in an unnatural way. They’re being very transactional, and this tends to repel, rather than attract people.

Networking is like building any other relationship. If people can tell you’re only in it for what you can get, there’s no trust and no relationship.

Networking vs Mentorship

Although they can both be very beneficial to your business, networking and mentorship are two different things. Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship between a more experienced business person and a less experienced one.

Your business network is the collection of people you know in a business setting, and with whom you have a relationship of trust. You can find mentors through your network, or you can mentor people in your network. Both of these activities can be very rewarding and benefit your business.

Summary

The importance of business networking can’t be overstated. It’s a vital skill that can lead to business growth and a rewarding career. The best way to pursue it, though, is as a goal in its own right (not for what it can get you.)

We encourage you to go out there and find business networking groups Australia or whatever country you’re located in at the moment. A really great network will be full of people you respect, trust, and genuinely enjoy spending time with. This will bring richness to your life in ways far beyond material gain.


Share this content

Latest news and insights

Gain valuable insights into effective sales and leadership strategies.

Are You Actually A Successful Business Owner?

Share this content…

Read Full Article

The Nine Divisions of Your Business

Share this content…

Read Full Article

The Importance of Business Networking Can’t Be Understated

Share this content…

Read Full Article