by Don Kyle
Networking with other business people can be an extremely effective way of generating business for your business if done properly.
Just what is business networking? The Wikipedia definition is “Business networking is a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities… Many business people contend business networking is a more cost-effective method of generating new business than advertising or public relations efforts. This is because business networking is a low-cost activity that involves more personal commitment than company money.”
Business networking can be conducted through many forms, including:
- Business Associations,
- Chambers of Commerce,
- Networking Organizations,
- Informal Groups of Business People,
- One-on-One Networking, and
- Various Non-business Civic and Charitable Organizations.
When selecting your business networking strategy, you must approach it with a long-term view, and the methods and groups you select should be those you enjoy. If you don’t like what you are doing, it will become obvious to others very quickly. Further, it is unreasonable to assume that you will get business simply by joining a particular group; therefore, you must become active in whatever group you join. Remember, people do business with those they trust and like.
Whatever form of business networking you select, it is critical to conduct your activities in accordance with the rules of the group or organization you have selected. For example, some groups may insist you refer business only to other members within that group, others may not be so restrictive, while others may prohibit conducting business at their events, such as some civic groups.
When conducting your networking activities, carefully listening to others about what they do is crucial to establishing business relationships. As others learn about you and your business, a trusted relationship often can result.
Please feel free to submit questions about your business to me and I will address them in future columns.
Don Kyle is the CEO and Founder of Small Bizz MBA, a company which assists businesses with their marketing, branding and advertising needs. (404) 580-6331, email@example.com