Does business networking seem like an old-fashioned waste of time to you? Would you rather send a tweet?
If you’ve ever dismissed networking events as being a complete waste of time perhaps you should reassess in 2017.
Why use local business networking in the digital age?
We were all sold the dream of opening our businesses to the world when the Internet came to town. The thing is we all rely on word of mouth. OK, we may not go down the pub or hang over the garden fence anymore so what do we do instead? The first port of call is Facebook. The post will go something like: ‘Hey, anyone recommend a good plumber or social media manager, florist or dressmaker?’ It’s almost as if we are afraid to do business with strangers.
So you can see where this is headed can’t you? If you are keen to increase local business then local networking is just the start of it. Consider the adage:
‘strangers are friends you have yet to meet.’
Local business people can become friends, they can assist with lead generation, they might even offer up their client list and even collaborate with you. The thing is they have to get to know, like and trust you.
So if you turn up regularly to a local business networking meeting it shows you mean business. It also demonstrates reliability, interest and professionalism. Think about it, if you commit to a group you become one of the important spokes that strengthens the wheel.
Local Business Networking is about putting yourself second.
I know that might sound crazy but it’s not an opportunity to broadcast. However it does represent an opportunity. Often we don’t realise but when we talk about ourselves, much more than the basic facts is communicated. We all say more than perhaps we intended and a great networker will spot the opportunities to help. Sometimes that means recommending someone else they know, or a chance to show that they can fix your pain point.
Most importantly, local networking is about conversation and building relationships.
After all, you never know who you might meet and who they might be able to introduce you to in the future. Each one of us has a list of contacts. If you create relationships there’s no reason why you might not be introduced to a brand new circle. This can go on and on if you start giving first. This is known as a virtuous circle.
If you are new to local business networking you might think it has little to offer. But have you considered what it might do for your business? Quite often you are asked to do a very short elevator pitch. Have you ever truly thought about what key points define your business. Every week you have the chance to tweak, test and see what kind of response you receive amongst real people whose full attention you have.
Networking is also a chance to help you learn about what the local business community needs.
You will discover difficulties, frustrations and even potential services you might be able to offer. The key to successful networking is realising that it’s about community, not just about you. If you manage to change your mindset you may find things change dramatically for you.
When we set up B49 we wanted to create a community that looked out for one another. We also wanted the opportunity to network without taking up a huge chunk of the day. This is what epitomises the spirit of B49. So if you would like to take the plunge and start networking in 2017 then why not start right here?
We meet every other Tuesday at the Welwyn Garden City Golf Club starting at 7.15am. It’s a great opportunity to start your day in a positive way and go on to work after a great breakfast too!