For some people, the thought of networking fills them with dread, but the importance of building a professional network shouldn’t be overlooked. Walking into a room of strangers can be daunting, but a good networking event should put you at ease and facilitate introducing you to others in the room.
Networking is about interacting with people and engaging with them. It’s the process of building relationships with other businesses within your community, and it is an essential part of any business marketing plan and vital to an individual looking to enhance their career and business.
Some of the benefits of networking include:
- Increase your visibility. When you network, you get your name out there and let people know who you are and what you do. This can help you attract new opportunities, such as job offers, freelance work, or speaking engagements.
- Find mentors and sponsors. Mentors and sponsors can help you with your career development. They can provide you with guidance, advice, and support. They can also open doors for you and help you get ahead.
- Learn about new opportunities. Networking can help you learn about new jobs, projects, and businesses. This can give you the inside scoop on what’s happening in your field and help you stay ahead of the curve.
- Build relationships. Networking is not just about getting something from people. It’s also about building relationships with people who can help you in the future (or you help them). These relationships can be valuable assets, and they can help you achieve your goals.
Establishing positive relationships with other professionals or potential clients and customers is an essential part of growing a business and seeking new opportunities in your career. There are many ways to network, but we’ve put together a few tips to get you started:
- Attend industry events. This is a great way to meet new people and learn about what’s happening in your field;
- Research local events. This is a great way to connect within the local community and keep up to date with what is happening in your town or city and can be a great way to find out about more events;
- Reach out to people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people you don’t know. Just be sure to send a personalised message when you reach out;
- Volunteer your time. This is a great way to meet new people and make a difference within your community;
- Pitch perfect. Some people will say to create a 60 second elevator pitch as you’ll be meeting lots of different people. You don’t need to have a script, but having some bullet points in your head about your business and you will make introductions easier;
- Get out of your comfort zone. It’s only natural to gravitate towards someone you know, but networking is about meeting those people outside of your circle so make the effort to introduce yourself to a few people you’ve not spoken to before. Look out for new people too and remember how you felt the first time you turned up somewhere new;
- Listen. Take an interest in others and find out about them as well as their business, that way you’ll build more meaningful relationships.
If you want to be successful, you need to make time for networking. The benefits of which are numerous, and they can help you achieve your goals.
Some additional tips for networking effectively:
- Be genuine and interested in other people;
- Be a good listener;
- Be positive and upbeat;
- Follow up after networking events;
- Be yourself.
Networking can help build an individual’s career and reputation, but it can also help grow a business and be a key marketing strategy. As such it is vital that businesses invest the time in developing their team and enhance their brand and thus leading to growth.
There are a number of different networking events you can attend in the Lincoln area with Lincoln Business Club taking place on the final Friday of each month. In Grimsby, the Business Hive host their networking event on the third Tuesday of every month.
At Nicholsons Chartered Accountants, we work within our communities so that individuals and businesses can thrive, and as part of that we set up our own networking event, N-hance running on the third Wednesday of each month. N-Hance brings businesses together to share knowledge, socialise, and help focus and prioritise on the challenges that they face.