What is the most important concept in building a powerful, personal network?
Most people understand networking will affect their visibility and they try to meet as many people as they can. When you are working on credibility, others are beginning to know you are good at what you do. It is important to go deeper with the contacts made during the visibility phase. Finally, profitability: your networking needs to be focused on learning advanced networking tactics to motivate your referral partners into doing business with you and referring new clients to you.
How can networking benefit a small business?
Business networking leverages the small business owner’s ability to generate new business. Clients who are referred to a business are normally stronger clients who do more repeat business and who refer new clients as well. Social capital is the international currency of networking, especially business networking.
What are the different types of networking small businesses can engage in?
Community service clubs give you an opportunity to put something back into the community where you do business while making valuable contacts and receiving good PR to boot. Professional associations can be formed from one specific type of industry. Social/business organisations openly combine social activities with business networking. Finally, women’s business organisations allow for education, professional development and networking.
What’s more important: social networking or face-to-face?
It really is not a matter of either/or. From a business perspective, the ideal use for social media is to build your brand and your credibility with the people you are connected with – it’s about providing value for your connections and followers. It is important to offer them useful information balanced with a little personal insight and whether you’re talking about face-to-face networking or online, networking credibility and relationship building is still critical.
How can small businesses become involved in networking?
Participate in different kinds of groups. Be visible, put yourself in play, get out and meet people at business events. Learn how to effectively work the meetings you attend. It’s not called net-sit, or net-eat, it’s called Net-WORK.
Dr Ivan Misner is the founder and chairman of BNI.
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