I have met many business owners over the last few years and often talk to them about business networking. A few of them do it regularly, others say they have done it in the past and many say not at all.
It’s probably true to say though that all people network even if most of that is an informal way. For example the people you meet in your golf club, your family and friends, your local pub or church. In fact wherever we meet people we are building relationships and these often get used to find customers, referrals to others and gain employment.
Business networking meetings places this into a more formal setting so that people attending know that the purpose of these meetings is to find new customers, suppliers possible JV partners and so forth.
Business Networking Failures
I know that the people who try networking and fail to make it work have invariably not tried for long enough. Business networking depends on the principle of Meet, Like. Know and Trust and it takes time for that to happen. Attending one or two meetings and expecting to get business is going to disappoint. Others that fail that attend meetings regularly miss the point of relationship building and will often try to sell too early. They become excessively concerned about themselves and their business and fail to give others the opportunity to tell them about their business.
There are others who go to the extreme of never selling at all and miss out on offering their products / services to others. It is all a matter of balance. If you are finding that business networking is not working for you speak to those that you know who are successful and ask them a question. “How do you make business networking successful for you?” Most networkers are willing to share their experience with you.
Business Networking Groups
You will find many networking groups and a search on Google or your local business directories should help you find them. Attend with an open mind and see if that group suits you. Prepare what you are going to say before you go as many will give you the opportunity to say a few words about yourself and your business to the group. You are also able to network online using Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and courses are available to help you to do that.
If you are not yet successfully business networking I would urge you to start as soon as you can. Business networking really does work when you know how.