If we boil success down to its core, we’d find that it comes down to the types of relationships we build. The quality and girth of our personal and professional relationships signal how successful we’d be and how profitable your business will turn out.
Porter Gale, former VP of Marketing at Virgin America captured the invaluable worth of networking in this brilliant, pithy quote:
“Your network is your net worth” - Porter Gale
Nevermind what sort of business you are building, networking will play a big role in your growth and profitability.
In the rest of this article, we look at four ways networking is beneficial to you and your business:
1. It’s a powerful marketing tool
Marketing can distract an early stage startup. But, networking? Not so much. Networking provides a low-budget, low-commitment strategy to get the word out on your business.
At networking events, you get an unfettered access to roomfuls of people who are influential in your industry.
Telling these people about your product is a sort of direct marketing. And the more people you talk to, the more people know about you. More important: it could help you land a major customer.
2. It helps with customer discovery
A key part of developing a product that people want is the Customer Discovery phase. It’s the phase where startups discover what type of solution they should provide to a problem, according to Steve Blank.
By sharing your product idea with people you meet at networking events, you leave yourself open to feedback. Which is great. Insight from people who’ve been there, done that, with the t-shirt to prove it will help you get fresh insight into your product.
You’ll also meet future users of your product, and their feedback will help you improve the product.
3. It helps you break into new circles
In the real world, like on social media, our networks can sometimes be architected to steer us towards signals that reflect our own ideological preferences. This state of things is called the Echo Chamber effect. And it means, without consciously breaking out of our patterns, the things, people and information we get exposed to will continue to echo what we already know and like.
A one-track mind like this can hurt your business. When you network at events, you are gaining exposure to other people and their network. If you make an impression on someone, it’s likely you will get to meet more people from their network. This will widen your worldview and architect new ways of thinking and solving problems.
4. It’ll increase your confidence
People often seem larger than life on social media. But at networking events? Not so much. We often meet people for who they are. And when you realize that they flesh, bone, air, and dust like the rest of us, you can see your confidence soar. And when you’ve pushed yourself to strike a conversation with these people, you develop a more robust confidence in yourself. The more you do this, the more confident you get. And confidence is an important quality to have as an entrepreneur.
Networking provides a ton of benefits than we are able to articulate. Aside from the above, by networking, you are able to get noticed. Because more people know you from these events, they are likely to think of you when they need a solution you offer.
What are your thoughts on the benefits of networking? How is networking helping your business grow? Let’s talk in the comments.
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