Networking is synonymous with career growth. Using our contacts to find our next job, earn a promotion, or grow from a mentor, it’s often focused on the individual. Yet, entrepreneurs often see the value of networking in not only securing support for their ventures but also driving long-term growth.
From providing unique opportunities, inducing community growth, ensuring constant evolution, and inspiring confidence, business networking can work magic for any small business. Understanding how to use a diverse community to its full potential can be the difference between success and failure.
At UpHabit, we’ve created a list of 5 of the most important benefits that a strong community and continuous networking can bring to your business. Whether your business is a technology start-up or a brick-and-mortar shop, these benefits are universal and priceless.
Drive Community Growth
As serial entrepreneur Ross Beyeler explains, “communities have served as the backbone of social and economic growth throughout human history.” By placing communities as a central part of your growth plan, you gain the power of referrals, thought leadership, and key insights.
Beyeler highlights three ways communities directly promote growth: referrals and leads. Providing your network with quality, dependable services or goods will lead to referrals, as they recommend you and your business to help their clients or network connections. And the simplest way to get referrals is to just ask for them. Networking is all about helping each other; your connections will often be very open to helping you grow.
Joining communities with members that would benefit from your product is another great source of potential customers. If your target market is legal services, focusing on connecting and building communities in this sphere can work wonders.
Starting a business is all about finding opportunities. From finding the right product and market, to expanding into new areas, using these opportunities is key to any business’ growth. Networking is the perfect way to find these opportunities.
Connecting with a professional in your industry can lead to a fruitful partnership down the road. Meeting a venture capitalist can lead to much-needed funding. Reaching out to a businessperson across the country can lead to a new joint venture. All these examples have plenty in common, namely networking and the power of strong communities.
But author and entrepreneur Kim Baird cautions against jumping on every opportunity that presents itself. With a large network, it’s often a challenge to find the best ones for your business. That’s why it’s always important to focus on building strong, relevant communities over a large, cluttered network.
Growth doesn’t always come from increasing client numbers or entering new markets. As a business and entrepreneur, it’s always important to keep positive influences around you that uplift and help you grow. As serial entrepreneur Oksana Tashakova explains, the mindset you can adopt from high achievers in your network is invaluable.
“Positive people naturally exude their best attributes,” according to Tashakova, which makes them perfect additions to any business network. They can help you stay on track, develop your business plans, find the right employees, provide constant encouragement, and even give reality checks every once in a while. Even in the worst of times, having a strong network of leaders and supporters behind you can mean the world.
New Ideas, Practices, and Perspectives
We don’t have to look far to see how our world is constantly changing: 2020 is as good an example as you’ll find. Entire industries have been rendered obsolete, new markets have emerged, and businesses have come and gone. As an entrepreneur and small business, staying on top of new trends, developments, and practices is the key to long-term success.
Staying connected with industry insiders, competitors, and thought leaders will keep your business and you on the cutting edge. These connections can help you identify what others are doing right or wrong, and what you can do to succeed as a business. Your communities can also provide valuable feedback and unique ideas that can only add value to your small business, and keep you innovative, even as you grow. Networking and connecting isn’t only about the individuals; it’s also about the ideas and knowledge they can bring to the table.
One of the key factors for any new venture is confidence. Entrepreneurs have to be confident in their business plan, their employees, and their own knowledge and ability to lead. Making the big decisions that decide a businesses success or failure requires utmost confidence in yourself and your business.
That’s why author and entrepreneur Bianca Miller Cole finds business networks so important. “The more effectively you network, the more self-confidence you build over time,” in Miller Cole’s opinion. And with a strong network of positive influences behind you, the more confident you can be when making decisions for your business. Sometimes growth is all about taking those big risks.
Starting and growing a business is a difficult, expensive, yet thrilling road. Having a strong network behind you along the way can be one of your most important assets. From positive supporters, exciting thought leaders, industry experts, and potential customers, the individuals in your network can form the base of your growth and continue to guide you as your dream turns into reality.
UpHabit, the app for Thoughtful Super Connectors, was built with entrepreneurs in mind. With a wide range of unique tools that help you build an effective professional network and reach out to your community, it’s the right tool for every entrepreneur and professional. For more on why you need the right personal CRM, like UpHabit, head over to our blog!