What is Networking?
Funny how one
little word can cause so many to cringe and others to be
confused, and yet be such a useful tool for successful
Maybe you dread
it because of a bad experience, or you’ve heard bad
reports or maybe you think you are too shy for it;
perhaps you don’t really know what networking is.
If you want to
catch fish, you would not use long pieces of string
individually; a single string won’t help you. However,
when a number of strings are tied together as a net,
they can catch many fish.
business networking is the same; by interconnecting with
other businesses, each one increases its ability to
catch prospective clients.
Oxford Dictionary defines it as a ‘chain of
interconnected persons’ which really describes most of
your everyday life; business networking is simply
recognising a normal process as a useful tool.
Why should I
networks are built on relationships between the people
who own and run businesses.
impact of networking relationships is that people trust
you and may use your service or product at some time. In
this sense, networking is useful but has limited scope
unless you spend a lot of time talking to other business
networking can do much more for your business. Within a
networking relationship, trust and knowledge is built
between business people. By learning about other
businesses, you are able to refer them to your clients
who want something you can’t offer.
On a purely
business level, the advantages to you of promoting
another’s business are:
You earn goodwill from
that business, thus increasing your chance of serving
them at some point
Your customers will be
happy to find what they are after easily and with a
recommendation – this is called value adding and will
build customer loyalty
Providing more to
customers increase the likelihood of them praising you
partner(s) will also be promoting you at appropriate
business is recommended to another person, this is
called word of mouth advertising and it is the most
powerful form of advertising there is.
you are also increasing the range of people who can hear
about your business. You may be able to tell three
people a week about your business; a group of ten people
may each tell one person a week about your business.
That has already increased your exposure by about three
On a different
level, by networking you are exposing yourself to new
people and new ideas, and potentially gaining support
and resources for your own business. Belonging to a good
networking group can be a major factor in business
How do I
Every time you
speak to someone about your business you may well be
networking. Networking is all about talking to people
and spreading the word about your business.
You can limit
your networking to casual conversations with friends,
acquaintances and local business owners, or you can take
a more formal approach.
There is a wide
variety of networking options available:
Join an online business
community – either a general business site or one
related to your particular area
Join a formal
networking group – these groups meet regularly and limit
membership to one of each business type
functions – such functions are run by various bodies,
including formal and online networking communities, and
often include a guest speaker. Some are members only and
most incur a charge.
Join a community group
of business people working in the community – this is
not a business network as such but is a great
opportunity to contribute as well as meet people with
Arrange some cross
promotions with complementary businesses – perhaps have
some of each others’ business cards available for
clients or share some ad space in an expensive magazine.
networking is of great benefit to a business and can
provide support as well; it can even be fun! And you
don’t have to be an outgoing person for it to be
effective; honesty and an interest in others are all you
need to succeed.
Tash Hughes is
the owner of
Word Constructions and is available to solve all
your business writing problems! From letters to
policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions
writes all business documents to your style and