It seems that with small businesses that the costs of investment never ends. Equipment, technology, human capital, and so on. The one thing that doesn’t show up on the income statement however, is investment of your personal time towards growing your business. The line item I like to attribute to this is networking.
Taking the time to attend business networking events that may follow seminars, conferences or be held as one offs by various organizations opens the door to a number of gains that extend way past the obvious which is increasing your pool of potential clients.
If you consider the gains and weigh them against the costs which in most cases is mainly your personal time, why any business owner would not actively plan for networking events is beyond me.
Like Richard Branson said, “Succeeding in business is all about making connections.”
This is true with anything in life but especially so with businesses and entrepreneurs. Connecting with colleagues within in the same market space as you enables you to learn about other technologies, products, services, best practices, trends and both wins and losses as experienced by those in the same boat as you.
The Mike Agency, a Wish Group company recently created a program directed specifically at promoting this basic idea amongst its client base. With the Get Connected program, clients are showcased monthly and encouraged to share a product or promotion with other clients that are part of the agency. It’s a great way to start a conversation in a relaxed environment amongst a tight group of potential connections.
What better way to sell your company or learn about other investment opportunities than with conversations amongst those that literally live and breathe their business day in and out? Sharing stories, outlooks and broad strategies in a relaxed environment over a glass of good wine is a great way to drive new business opportunities for your organization while also identifying synergies that can make sense to build on in the future.
The more you attend industry specific or related events, the more you’ll become part of the patchwork that makes the market what it is. Remember, business owners are not the only ones attending these events. In many cases you may see media, industry watch dogs and government officials as well which inevitably means more face time for you to sell your business as the best. The long term goal is to be regarded as an expert in the field and eventually be the person they come to for their content, ideally boosting your profile further while building your network base even further.
As we all gear up for a fresh and exciting year ahead, take the time to think about how you can plan to allocate some of your time to networking events. Take a look through and try and diversify by type of event as well to optimize the diverse groups of people that you’ll be spending your time with.
Good luck and hopefully we’ll run into each other sometime!