by Rachael Haith : Community Manager

Networking is a valuable way to grow your knowledge and network. Mind you it can be daunting if you’re a newbie to it all, but I assure you once you get over those initial nerves it can be a great opportunity for you and your business.

It took me a long time to feel comfortable walking into a room full of people I didn’t know and be to ready to talk about what I do and feel confident to do so.

Here are some benefits I think might help you take the plunge;

Personal growth

Of course, growing your business and generating more sales is great and I’ll get to that later on.  However, networking isn’t just about striking deals, its about finding people whom you can partner with and discuss ideas.  

I believe networking helps grow your confidence and forces you to step outside your comfort zone and in turn boost your self-esteem. It might not feel like it to begin with but being asked your opinion and ideas, introducing yourself to a group of new people can give you a buzz and is exactly what you need to grow.

Increasing business

This is one of the most obvious benefits as it’s one of the main attractions to networking. Everyone you’re going to meet at an event like this are looking to increase business. You’re not going to get a shiny new deal or contract each time it can be a slow burner so don’t get disheartened as it can take a while to pay off…

Plus, don’t forget about referrals, if the person you have been chatting to for the last 20 minutes doesn’t have anything for you, he or she might refer you on three or four times and that is golden.

The increase in new business opportunities is a massive advantage, however there are many others to focus on as well.

Advice

People love to feel like their advice is valued. That’s the great thing about networking, you get plenty of it for free! Meeting like-minded business owners gives you the chance to ask questions and tap into expertise that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get hold of.

There are some things Google just can’t tell you so it’s nice to have a discussion with someone new and bounce ideas of each other.

It’s also good to remember some do’s and don’ts;

Do… smile and say thank you it goes along way. Remember you are talking about what you love, keep a smile and always remember to say thank you, this shows your appreciation for the other persons time.

Don’t… ask for a job, just don’t do it. 

Do… always follow up on new connections. Take business cards, leaflets and information. Set up appointments, invite them in for a coffee! Keep that connection going and see where it could lead.

Don’t… be afraid to ask questions! It makes your more visible and people will remember the engaging conversation they had with you.