How often do you notice two businesses doing the same thing, with the same products, quality, etc., but one is doing way better than the other. Do you know why? Because the owner of the business that has been doing better than the other has done his homework and has been networking!
Networking is a vital part of any business that helps an entrepreneur create a healthy rapport with people in the industry, gaining important insights from veterans and, in turn, helping them to scale heights in terms of sales and prosperity as an enterprise.
So what is networking really?
Networking is an interpersonal communication skill, which holds a lot of importance in the journey of an entrepreneur. Usually like-minded people, or entrepreneurs from different walks of life but similar ideas get together in order for some creative brainstorming, sharing expertise, and getting to know potential investors.
When I started my small-scale sustainable fashion business in India, only a few friends and family of mine knew about it. Apart from letting social media and word-of-mouth spread the word about the USP of my label, I had to make sure to be in the right place at the right time as well. Networking events, being a part of exhibitions, and gatherings with attendees from a relevant industry made up almost 40 per cent of my job.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why networking in businesses is given so much importance:
Opportunities: This is probably one of the most obvious and important reasons networking is considered essential for an entrepreneur. If you meet other like-minded people, important investors or business owners, who might be looking for an idea that only you might have, opportunities will arise! In a networking event, you meet people from all walks of life, and you never know which person walks up to you with the best opportunity of your life!
Connection: Building a rapport, a strong, healthy connection with people in your industry is always a great idea, and networking facilitates that. These connections will go a long way in an hour of need that you may not have anticipated.
Social circle: Needless to say, once you actively start networking, it is eventually going to lead to a stronger social circle and sometimes friends for life!
Confidence: This exercise builds your confidence like no other. Interacting with people with various personalities and backgrounds builds your confidence, which is a very important part of your personality as an entrepreneur.
Visibility: You can never underestimate the power of visibility. It is important to be seen at the right time, right place with the right people. Also, it is extremely important to stay relevant by making sure you attend networking events now and then.
Knowledge: You can never have enough knowledge; learning is a life-long, ongoing process. Most often than not, you will meet highly experienced people at these networking events, and they will be more than happy to impart knowledge or pass on their expertise. It’s a great way to find mentors as well.