Successful business people who work with a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) daily, all the way to those in the pharmaceutical industry will tell you that one of the keys to getting to their level is being good at networking. But if you're a new business owner you might not be entirely sure of what that means that you're expected to do. This short guide should help you create networking opportunities for yourself and make the most of those that are already present within your industry and community.
Business networking is a social activity that brings like-minded people from similar business sectors together to discuss ideas and potential business ventures. They can present themselves in the form of everything from a cocktail party at a local bar to a weekend conference that includes business people from across the country. Most companies see this as a low-cost form of advertising and marketing their business to potential clients, as well as a way to gain business contacts and learn new things about the power quality analyzers, for example, that you're working with.
There are two main types of business networking opportunities that are available to companies and owners today. The first is for people to meet traditionally in one place to discuss the workings of a particular business trade or real estate success tips, for example. The second is to start a network of business contacts online. This means that you don't have to work around everyone's schedules or even be located in the same city as the others who are members of your network. You could set-up message boards where you can post new information on your business or could discuss some of the latest products that are about to come out in your store with other people who will be carrying them. If you were about to launch your own barn painting company say, you could speak with a successful business like The Resurfacer (website). They are in the same industry, attracting the same clientele, but in a different Province so therefore no competition for you business.
Establishing business relationships with others in the same field may seem counterproductive, as these companies are your competition. But you might find that a good business network can actually expose you to better prices for products or a fuller customer base. There are many retail networks that have deals with manufacturers to get a lower wholesale price. And then there is the network of real estate agent joining a well-known brokerage in their area. All of a sudden they will have access to a number of resources that they may not have been able to acquire on their own.
When looking for business networking opportunities you should both see what is available in terms of mingling with other companies in your area and those that are in the same industry. You will find that both have their own benefits, especially if you're a small business with only one location. Just remember that you're both looking for customers and partners when attending networking events.