Networking is by far the highest return on investment for your business. Networking is not only fun, but also essential for building your brand. Building a successful business takes a lot of time and drive, so it's imperative to have a network of friends and associates to aid in each other's successes. By surrounding yourself with people who share a similar drive and ambition, you're more likely to succeed yourself.
There are many other benefits to networking which include:
Opportunities. Even though opportunities may not materialize immediately, networking will result in referrals and partnerships. This is why it's so important to keep your connections alive. Referrals made while networking with a group of business leaders and highly motivated individuals are also usually of the highest quality. Remember you're not just networking with them; you're networking with their networks, too.
Share Expertise. Networking is great for sharing knowledge and getting feedback. Always try to connect with someone who has been where you're at; the knowledge you gain from this encounter can keep you from making the same mistakes, and keep you on your path to success.
Relationships. It's not what you know, but whom you know. This age old advice still rings true. Networking is more than just connecting; it's about building long lasting relationships. Relationships build partnerships. Expanding and fostering your connections will lead to more opportunities and friendships. Some of your strongest friendships will come out of networking.
Personal Development. Speaking to strangers is not easy for everyone. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to make connections will only increase your confidence and increase interest in your business or services. Networking events are for just that--networking. Everyone in attendance is there for the sole purpose of expanding his or her network; so don't feel as if you are imposing on their time.
Positive Influences. The people you choose to spend your time with can influence who you are and what you do, so it's important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting, supportive people. Networking will lead you to these types of people.
Inspire Others. This is by far one of the greatest advantages of networking. When networking, you should always ask how you can help the other person first. Not only does this build a stronger relationship, but it also builds trust and respect. When you seek to help others first, the rewards come back ten-fold.
With active networking groups in every city and social media, it has never been easier to make new connections. Utilize these resources and you'll most certainly see your network and business grow.