Business Networking – could it work for you?
“Networking doesn’t work for me. I went to a couple of meetings and got no business from them”.
What is wrong with this statement? I’ve heard it (or similar) a few times over the last 7 years.
I’ll let you into a secret. I don’t generate a huge amount of business from networking. The majority of my clients find me through social media, in particular Facebook (LinkedIn is starting to deliver results, too).
But you won’t hear me saying “networking doesn’t work for me”. Why?
I work from home – I don’t even have a “home office” as such. It’s just a desk in a (somewhat untidy) room. However, because my business involves being online all day, and therefore in front of a computer, I could rapidly become unhealthy, not to mention very lonely.
I’m an introvert
Networking gets me out of the house and into situations that a few years ago I’d have avoided – as an introvert, I still get nervous about walking into a roomful of strangers, and I really don’t like (and avoid) “social” occasions.
Networking has enabled me to build a large circle of contacts – not just those who’ve bought from me, or vice versa, but people I can refer business to.
It has also given me the opportunity to practise my public speaking, by giving short presentations on a range of topics.
Contacts and referrals
So, when someone asks if I know a graphic designer, web developer, business coach, photographer, plumber, electrician – or pretty much any business you care to mention – I can give them at least one name immediately.
Would you feel good if someone referred enquiries to you because they’ve got to know you and your work over a period of several years?
Would you be happy if someone you knew through networking asked you to do business? Of course.
Would you love the chance to raise awareness of your business and develop your speaking skills?
Give networking a chance
If you give it a chance, networking works – in many ways other than the obvious. 2 meetings are nowhere near enough. I always tell people to give it 6 months of consistent attendance as a minimum.
What’s your experience of networking?
Want to know about local business networking groups? I regularly attend several local meetings, and I’m currently the leader of the 4Networking Retford group – we meet every second Friday at Ye Olde Bell Hotel, Barnby Moor. I’d love to welcome you to a meeting in the future, so please contact me for details.