8 Reasons To Go To Business Networking Meetings…..Aside from Getting More Customers

May 16, 2013 in Business Networking, Small Business, Small Business Networking by lizbygrave

If you don’t network – whether on or off line – no-one gets to hear about your product or service, and of course no-one gets to buy from you.

So networking is as natural as breathing – we do it every time we tell someone what we do for a living.

Business networking events are a logical extension of this – they provide a focused way for lots of small business owners to communicate to each other what they do, and thereby get more customers.

This is of course very valuable in itself. However, it is easy to forget the other benefits of networking for small businesses:

1) At networking meetings we often get to meet people who can help us with our business – accountants, graphic designers, copy writers, photographers, social media experts etc. These people, particularly if they’ve been going to the group for a while, are often accompanied by enthusiastic referrals from other members. (Note – these referrals are not always freely given – it is sensible to check the policy of the networking group you’re at – some organisations insist that members find work for other members.)

2) We also get to meet people who provide non-business services that we, or someone we know, may need: gardening, cake making, or massage for instance. Again, a networking event is a good place to suss out such people, and you never know, they may be offering a discount to other meeting attendees!

3) At networking meetings, a large number of small business owners gather together in one room. Many of these will have been in business for years and will have valuable experience, insights, shortcuts and money-saving tips to offer you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice: human nature usually means that we are more than happy to pass on the benefit of our wisdom and experience.

4) Many organisations, including SBN, offer talks on running your own business as part of the event. The quality of the information is often very high: speakers at networking events are usually aware that they have to give real value during these talks if they want to encourage people to become paying clients. So you can learn an awful lot from one short free talk.

5) You may meet people who you can ‘joint venture’ with. Organising an event or a promotion with another business owner can be very beneficial for both of you, and may even turn a profit. So keep a lookout for people who could make good partners. And keep an open mind, it’s not always the obvious ones!

6) Coming to a networking meeting can strengthen your knowledge of, and connections in, your local area. You become more part of your community, and may even make new friends.

7) Never underestimate the value of getting out of your office environment for a couple of hours, and hey, actually talking to some other human beings. It’s refreshing, and can often be a real boost to your mood and your inspiration. This is very important for small business owners – we are often extremely reliant on our own state of mind as to how much we get done and how well we do it. A surge of optimism and motivation from interacting with other local business people can often be a real tonic.

8) Most networking meetings usually include a section where everyone gets a chance to tell everyone else what they do. At SBN this is called ‘The One Minute Go Round’. It’s not as scary as it sounds, but it’s amazing how difficult most of us find it to concisely explain to others what we do, in a way that not only catches their attention but makes them want to know more. So these one minute go rounds can be excellent practice for all those times in everyday life when people ask you what you do. After all, it’s probably the second most common question after ‘Where do you live?’, and a great opportunity to spread the word….if you get it right.

So, as you can see, there are many more reasons to network than simply to get more customers. And if you want a ninth – well… it can actually be a lot of fun!