Networking: Why It Is So Important In Your Business
Small Business Networking
Why Social Networking Is Critical To A Business
There has been a lot of talk about "networking" and what "networking" really means. In the business world it means getting involved with the outside community to:
1. Put a face to your business and to give your business a presence outside of it's physical place..
2. To help grow your business through association with other business owners.
Here on the Internet, networking is just as important as in the outside world. A famous speaker once told me that "It's not WHAT you know", but rather "WHO you know," and in many respects, I believe this to be an accurate statement.
You could be the best writer or artist in the world but if no one knows about you or what you do, you may never be able to make a living at what you do best. It's imperative that people know who you are, and the more face to face recognition the better!
A good example of how networking helped my business is this story of how we grew our sign business with the help of social networking:
In 1994 when we bought our business it was actually closed at the time (one of those mistakes that you learn is a bad thing to do unless you get a heck of a deal on the price of the business)
With that said, although I already had contacts in the sign business, it became apparent that we needed to do more marketing if we wanted to stay in business. A client told us about the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, and how it was a great way to get involved in the community and also build your business at the same time.
I talked to my partner and we joined the chamber (the cost was about $200 for the year back then) and for one year we sat and waited for business to come rolling in.
After one year when it came time to renew my partner didn't want to because he said we had received nothing for our chamber membership. I agreed but felt there was probably something we were doing wrong.
I was right, the thing we were not doing was getting INVOLVED. I had somehow excepted to receive results without putting little or much effort out, and so I decided it was time to get actively involved. One of the things I did was to join a networking group through our chamber which was called a "connection club". Little did I know then but our little club would become a model for other groups in the chamber and across the country.
For 11 years I participated in the group, and we grew from about 7 people, up to about 50. We met every Tuesday for one hour and shared success stories, business issues and did mini presentations of our businesses, Occasionally we would also bring in outside speakers, and we would also participate in community events like the "Relay For Life" cancer walk and we would also have events outside the group like bowling and dinners out, which helped us get to know each other better.
As the time passed and the group grew, so did most of our businesses. It was not unusual to see people come in our business that would say "so and so referred me", and it was someone from our group. Word spread and we began to get lucrative accounts within our community, all because of our association with the group and our willingness to put ourselves out there and get to know people.
Which comes to why it's so important even here at Hub Pages to "network". Although the format is a little different, the idea is the same. If you write and sit back but don't get involved it's likely you will not be successful in the way you would like. Its critical to get yourself known to other people through getting involved- getting to know other writers, making constructive comments, and participating in the forums when people have questions, or if you have questions yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a business. It takes time, the desire to succeed and the willingness to put yourself out there so people can get to know you.
With that said, don't be afraid of the word "networking". All it means is that you are going to let people know who you are and what you do, which is critical to succeeding in business today.
Good luck Networking and have fun with it!