The importance of networking for your small business

“Networking is the most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”

This is Adam Small’s passionate belief that led him to found Strategic Business Network, LLC in 2004 with a mission to “empower professionals and organizations to create meaningful and relevant relationships that fuel their success.”

He is by no means alone in this belief. As Norvax University points out in its online training course: “Ask any executive, politician, community leader or successful salesperson what single skill or habit has helped them in their career – an overwhelming majority will answer with one simple word… networking. Financial analyst Abdelrahman Abdalla wrote an article in LinkedIn Pulse, citing networking as one of the most important skills to your company’s success.

Speaking of LinkedIn, the largest professional network in the world now has over 300 million users with an average of two new users per second. The site accounts for 64% of all social media visits to corporate websites, compared to just 17% for Facebook. Again, this is an indication of the importance of networking for any business or career.

The SME Toolkit, an IFC and IBM project, also emphasizes the importance of networking, citing at least four key benefits:

1. Increase sales through referrals

2. Learn things you need to manage and grow your business

3. Find people to buy goods and services from

4. Stimulate your creativity regarding new things or approaches to your business

“Knowledge is power,” Littlefinger once said. Especially when you’re just starting out, connecting with people with more business experience means learning from their past mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.

Your network is also the best source of opportunities for new customers, suppliers and marketing channels. Helping others in your network in turn builds your own reputation as well as your company’s reputation and visibility. People you meet at events and with whom you form relationships will remember you when they, or someone they know, need what you are offering. In fact, the aforementioned Norvax University course calls it the “best form of marketing.”

The transparency that the internet and social media have brought to today’s business environment has proven time and time again that people only do business with those they like and trust. Networking through nurturing meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses and customers is the best way to grow your business and local community as a whole.

Thanks to Kate Teng | #importance #networking #small #business

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