Networking: Playing The Long Game

No skill is more critical for an entrepreneur than networking (luckily, we can help you with that). After all, it doesn’t matter how compelling your pitch is if you can’t get the right people to meet with you in the first place. People and businesses who don’t network wisely are bound to end up local entities with little national or global reach.

The advantages of building and maintaining a network will last long past your initial pitch. Besides raising your own confidence in yourself and your skills, here are some of the benefits you can expect from a well-curated network.

  1. Referrals and leads: This is the obvious reason entrepreneurs build networks. A recent survey found that more than 68% of people who practice thoughtful networking experience a noticeable improvement in their career. The same report showed that 10% of new clients and projects were obtained solely through networking events. Think about that: one out of ten clients is found directly as a result of networking, without external advertising or efforts. This number only counts first-time clients, too, not the repeat business you can attract with excellent service.
  2. Increased visibility: When you regularly attend networking events and take part in online industry communities, people will begin to recognize you. You can (and should) use these events to create a reputation as an industry professional, someone who’s been around and knows what success looks like. This pays off down the road when you’re in competition with other businesses over a contract. That name recognition raises your personal appeal to investors and customers who feel they can trust your experience.
  3. Early access: Maintaining relationships with those in your network can get you a sneak peek of new products and services they offer. This can be anything from first choice of sales contracts to opportunities to beta-test emerging technology that can streamline your operations. Being the first to have something gives your company a cutting-edge reputation.
  4. Inside tips: Everyone likes to give advice, but timely, useful business information can be harder to find. People only share their best advice with those they know and trust. Think about the people you would call if you found a little-known supplier with an inside track on a contested market. The list is pretty small, right? Smart networking gets you on that list for as many people as possible.
  5. Advice and support: No one succeeds in a vacuum. When you have a tricky business problem, turn to the members of your network to see how they solved similar challenges. Chances are good someone you know has some relevant advice. Even when your problem is unique, fresh minds often have helpful takes on how best to proceed. You will also have opportunities to advise others in your field, which improves your image as an experienced professional.

It takes time to build the right kind of network, but don’t give up. You will start seeing benefits faster than you think, and they only get better as your network grows. Contact us today and learn how to get started!

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