15 Oct Why Networking is a Must in a Business
The old adage “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know,” still rings true today in business, especially in our connected world of LinkedIn, online job postings, and Zoom interviews. Networking is a key factor in personal and professional development, and can greatly enhance your business if you learn to network effectively. Networking is an opportunity to exchange ideas and build personal, lasting relationships with those around you. Here are four reasons why networking is a must in business.
1. Create Brand Recognition
Whether you own a business of twenty years or two months, you can always build brand recognition among consumers. Brand recognition is a gauge of how quickly or how often your brand comes to mind when a consumer is prompted. For example, if a potential customer is deciding where to eat lunch, where do they think of first – your competitors’ restaurants, or yours? When you consistently network within the community, you create exposure for your brand and improve brand recall among consumers. Networking is a powerful tool for creating brand recognition and generating business leads.
2. Build Your Customer Base
As you continue to create brand recognition from your networks and your networks’ networks, you will naturally bring new customers to your business. Word of mouth is recognized by advertisers as a highly effective method of generating sales. According to a recent study, 88% of consumers indicated that they trust recommendations from people they know over any other form of marketing. Word of mouth is often perceived as more authentic than paid advertisements. To help get the word out about your products or services, actively seek networking opportunities and organically discuss your business with people whenever you can.
3. Stay on Top of Trends
By creating a network comprised of diverse industries and professions, you can stay in the know about new and developing business trends and products. This is especially important if you are part of a fast-changing industry like technology or medicine, but any business can benefit from “insider knowledge” shared by their network. Staying on the cutting edge can also give you an advantage over competitors who may not be using their contacts to learn about and prepare for potential changes to the marketplace or evolving consumer trends.
4. Connect Locally
Roanoke has many networking opportunities to connect with the local community and build a strong impression of your brand. A great resource for local businesses is the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, a local organization that hosts informative mini-workshops and events including, “Using Canva for Small Businesses” and “Getting Started with QuickBooks Online.” Consider joining 1st and 3rd Business Builders, a networking group dedicated to connecting business professionals around Roanoke. Members can gain qualified business referrals through the group during twice-monthly meetings with built-in time for networking.
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