Even if you have the most effective marketing strategy
and the desired reach for your business, traditional word-of-mouth continues to be one of the most effective techniques for acquiring new customers. A successful small business requires a face-to-face networking strategy with other entrepreneurs. Over the years, small business networking has gained immense popularity among small business owners. Let’s not forget that every large corporation today was once a small enterprise. The expansion did not happen overnight. Networking is critical for small business success because no firm grows in isolation.
"Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come."
- Diane Helbig, Business and Leadership Development Advisor
Business networking may help you grow your customer base and get more referrals, as well as give you numerous chances for learning, development, and growth.
Despite the undeniable value of networking, most small-business owners are at a loss about where to begin. You may be wondering how you might enter the world of networking. This article shows you how to use the best business networking ideas for your small business
Reasons to Grow Your Business with Networking
Every businessperson understands the importance of investing in money, but only the wise invest in relationships.
95% of professionals believe that face-to-face contact is critical for long-term company success
Networking connects you with peers in your sector and opens the door to new opportunities. It shows you how important it is to have good interpersonal skills and how important face-to-face interactions are.
Meeting with a venture capitalist can assist in securing funding. Finding a partner across the nation might result in the start of a new venture. In addition, small business networking may help by giving unique opportunities, growing confidence, expanding your community, and learning new skills.
This is a perfect example of why businesses need to consider their networking strategy. Eloqua, a platform for marketing automation and intelligence, was acquired by Oracle in 2012 for $871 million. The entire transaction proceeded well because Eloqua co-founder Paul Teshima had developed strong, shared ties with Oracle's executives. Eloqua was acquired for more than 200% of its projected public market value, resulting in $400 million increase in a shareholders’ net worth.
Small Business Networking Ideas
“When you network you develop a list of resources that you can share with others. This increases your value to those prospects and clients you deal with.”
- Diane Helbig, Business and Leadership Development Advisor
Join Online Business Communities/Groups
The most effective strategy to boost brand recognition for your firm and overall performance is to join business organizations and participate in "face-to-face" business networking groups. Numerous small business networking groups provide members with the opportunity to promote their businesses to the group or receive customized business advice.
Some excellent small business networking groups you can join are the Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, the Entrepreneur's Organization, Business Networking International, Young Entrepreneurs' Council, Rotary Club International, and the American Marketing Association. However, being an active member of a lot of business organizations doesn’t have the same benefit as being a member of just one or two.
Cross-promotion is an excellent approach to building relationships with other small companies. Collaboration and cross-promotion are efficient strategies for growing your brand
, acquiring new consumers, and diversifying the services you provide your clientele. Cross-promotion may take place in different forms, from pooling resources to sponsoring an event to bundling your items.
You can collaborate on promotional videos and share them on each other's social media accounts. You can also develop a collaborative advertisement for publication in local retail journals and publications. Here is one perfect example that will help you understand better the benefits of cross-promotion.
La'mariette and Selena Gomez collaborate on a campaign — La'mariette is a swimsuit company that believes that every body type is beautiful. They teamed up with Selena Gomez, singer and influencer with 195 million Instagram followers. Selena shared a photo of herself wearing a La'mariette swimsuit. She debuted the brand with this post. Additionally, she tagged La'mariette and shared their Instagram link. Selena's photo was then put on the brand's website.
Cross-promotion brings a lot of benefits for small business owners with limited resources and budgets.
Networking Business Cards
Business cards play a crucial role in your small business networking strategy, whether you attend a small business conference, join a local networking event, or participate in a trade show as an exhibitor. Along with the necessary contact information, business cards may help strengthen your brand and make you more distinctive.
Visiting/business card is the first and long-lasting impression, extension of smile or handshake, mark of professional. Additionally, owners are hesitant to discard business cards, probably because they understand that the cards need time and money to make. Business cards will help to build a strong customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Attend Small Business Conferences
Small business conferences are an excellent opportunity to network with other businesses and establish vital contacts. When you go to conferences, you get to reconnect with colleagues you haven't spoken to in a while.
There are several ways to network at or during a conference. You can choose to stay at the same hotel as the conference, be prepared with conversation starters, be receptive to individuals who wish to meet you, and sign up for conference dinners, meet-ups, parties, and others.
Connect With Other Local Businesses
While being a member of the community helps small business owners in several ways, it also provides a chance to give back to the society. Just as you rely on the goodwill, referrals, and patronage of folks in your immediate circle, so do the other companies in your neighborhood. For example, a simple visit to say hello and leave your business card. This not only creates an opportunity to sell your products or services, but is also a neighborly thing to do.
“Create a company culture that focuses on personal development, both inside and outside the workplace to influence your local community.”
- Christian Valiulis, Automatic Payroll Systems
Business networking is a fun part of developing small businesses. However, as you implement the above networking strategy, pay attention to how it impacts everything around you. For maximum exposure, choose the best option from the suggestions mentioned above.
How can networking help a small business?
Networking helps small businesses to find new customers, expand their business and provide exposure for their brand. Business networking helps build relationships with others.
What are the advantages of networking?
Below are a few advantages of networking
Raise your profile
Strengthen business connections
Solutions to business problems
How can I improve my business network?
You can improve your business network by considering the following:
Attend offline events
Connect the connectors
Get busy on social media
Join online business communities/groups