Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why and How to Network to Grow Your Business

Networking is a core business skill that brings many benefits to new and growing businesses. Networking provides an opportunity to exchange ideas and information with other business owners from your local area, or in your business sector, and enables you to meet potential clients, suppliers and business partners. Mixing with other business owners in this way is an important practice for every business owner to adopt. Not convinced? Have a look at these tips on why and how to network.

Why Network?

Share or pick up new ideas: The networking environment is often a place of learning where a business owner can keep up to date with new industry developments, gather general or specific industry information, regulations and policies and find out what competitors are up to.

Time to work on the business not in it: Business Networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business. Getting stuck in the office ploughing away can leave us stagnating. Lifting your head up to look for new ideas and opportunities is the best way to keep your business growing.

Feeding positivity: Networking is great way to meet with and talk to do like minded business owners who inspire and influence you and what you do, so it is important to be surrounding yourself with people that help you to grow and thrive as a business owner. Business owners that are using networking are usually people that are really positive with appropriate knowledge and experience and help other businesses with their problems or provide solutions. 

Build real relationships: At a professional level, networking provides you with a great source of connections, and really opens the door to talk to highly influential people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily talk to or find. Mix with your peers and other like-minded people. On personal level networking helps to build relationships with potential partners and friends. Many friendships form as a result of networking because (mostly) you are all like-minded business owners that want to grow your businesses, and you meet and help each other regularly, so naturally strong friendships tend to form and you do not feel isolated.

How to Network Effectively

women networking

Become a regular participant - Once you have found a network that is working for you, show your face regularly so you’re known and getting noticed.  Not only are you ensuring you are remembered, you are building your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by being available to offer useful information or tips to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more leads and referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they need what you offer.
Don't forget the online networking option -  Social networking platforms such as Linkedin,  Twitter and Facebook can also be used for online business networking. They help people to find information about your business and are useful if you are looking for new business contacts or partnerships.  Online networks can also be a great way to follow up with connections made offline. 

Network with a goal in mind - Decide before attending an event or joining an online network what you want to get out of it.  Is there a key connection you want to make?  If so make that clear.  You never know who knows the person you are after and could make an introduction.  Never forget the 6 degrees of seperation rule. 

Perfect your pitch - We have all been to events where we have met someone, asked them what they do and walked away feeling non-the-wiser.  Don't be that person! Be clear about what you offer and practice presenting that message in a clear and concise way.

If you would like more help with your networking skills, The Women’s Organisation are running a ‘How to Network Effectively’ day. Come along to get practising! Or check out or linkedin course and Business Club women in business network for extra help. 

If you are growing your business significantly and ready to expand your staff team, you may be able to access additional support from a specialist business growth adviser as part of the New Markets programme.  Get in touch for more information via

by Business Growth Adviser Huda Mamoun

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