Small business' best friend
(Posted on 18/04/16)
As a small business, there are many benefits of regularly attending networking sessions.
Networking offers you face-to-face access to a diverse range of people and this opportunity can be very valuable in establishing contacts and raising your profile. Keep a lookout for networking sessions in your local area and browse online and enrol on business-related mailing lists. You may not necessarily make instant connections, but just chatting with other business people can make your attendance worthwhile. Very often conversations around your work can generate something that you can find helpful in the day-to-day running of your business. Learning from other people and listening to what they have to say can also provide you with information on a myriad of business matters – anything from the best way to keep your accountancy books and the ideal place to buy business essentials, to little tips and time-saving shortcuts.
Even if you’re not the most outgoing person, it’s worth thinking about attending networking sessions. Networking is an essential tool today for you to make new business contacts. It allows you to connect one-to-one in a reasonably informal environment, with people who are actively seeking to connect with you. If you’re nervous at the thought of attending networking sessions, there’s two things you should think about. The first is that you won’t get any better at it, without attending some sessions and gaining some practice, and secondly, though some attendees will be seasoned veterans, many will be in the same boat as you. Go prepared with what you want to say about yourself and your business and make sure that you’re comfortable, both in your appearance and the picture you paint of your business activities.
In terms of knowledge-sharing, networking sessions sometimes feature guest speakers, presenting on their specialised subject and sharing their expertise and experience with other business people. Presentations are a good way to learn about broad, diverse subjects quickly and easily. A good way to keep track of all the information you acquire at these sessions is to note it down, so you have it at your fingertips later – keep it in a specific journal, or your diary or notebook. You can use this valuable resource to build a database, an easy-reference reminder for you after each networking session you attend, to log new contacts and practical advice. Perhaps most importantly, networking is a resourceful and social way of becoming integrated into your wider local business community.