The importance of networking

Fostering strong interactions and relationships with community members and organisations is as key element for any business wishing to maximise its success in today’s marketplace. Otherwise known as networking, this process entails the cultivation of a positive business image within the community as well as the building of mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses and key individuals.

Here are two key factors to consider when building a business network:

Establishing a place in the community

Getting involved in local community causes through sponsorship and charity initiatives is often a highly effective tool for businesses wishing to develop their goodwill and relationships with individuals and other businesses.

Sponsorship and charity activities can often provide not only an opportunity for businesses to give back to their communities, but can also an ideal setting for professionals to get to know their clients and prospects on a more personal level (and vice versa), which can may help to increase their levels of  client rapport, loyalty and respect.

Building a referral network

Networking is one of the primary ways through which businesses can build strong referral networks. As such, it is important for business owners to proactively prospect for mutually beneficial relationships with key individuals and other businesses.

One key way to do this is through attending and encouraging staff to attend relevant conferences and workshops; these events can provide some great opportunities for businesses to learn from leading experts, share and receive advice, build professional relationships and alliances, and develop an industry presence.

In addition, there are smaller-scale strategies that business owners can employ to build their professional networks: casual corporate luncheons, informal meetings, friendly sporting competitions, and networking societies are all relatively cost efficient – but effective – ways to build strong relationships with both clients and businesses.

Arguably, the most cost efficient (and sometimes overlooked) strategy for strong business networking is to ensure that all staff members have their own business cards, so that they can then hand them out in both professional and non-professional contexts.

Posted by George Tarbey on 10/09/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

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