Cast your mind back to the very first networking event you attended, were you lucky, did you feel calm, inquisitive and a touch excited or were you quaking at the knees, feeling physically sick and imagining you were about to be surrounded by hundreds of scary people pointing a finger shouting’ look it’s the new girl’ ?
For me it was a some of the latter and a touch of the former however my first networking experience cannot have been further from the truth.
After takin a deep breath and venturing into a room packed full of people who I did not know I was surprised at how many others had the same scared expression on their faces (obviously ‘newbie’s’ too I thought) we quickly made eye contact and immediately struck up a conversation, from there  I was introduced to two lovely ladies who immediately took me under their wing and explained the agenda for the meetings. Two hours later I had met more people than I had imagined I could in such a short period of time, all of whom were helpful and friendly. Feeling much more positive about Networking I left the venue feeling confident ……… and looking forward to the next event.

Networking events may not be for you however they can bring a huge range of benefits to our businesses,

1. Referrals/increased business and opportunities.
With a motivated group of business owners can come an abundance of opportunities!
Referrals are probably the most obvious benefit and the reason most business owners decide to participate in networking activities and join networking groups. Opportunities and joint ventures can also develop from networking.
The increase in business from networking is the major advantage, but there are many others too.

2. Connections, advice and helping others.
Business networking can benefit your business in so many ways.
We really love helping other people, and networking is a fantastic way that allows businesses to do this. Networking is full of business owners that have various sizes of problems and issues within their business that need solving, and there is great satisfaction from helping someone to solve a problem they have and get a fantastic result from it.
Networking provides you with a great source of connections, and really opens the door to talk to a wide range of people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily talk to or find.

3. Raising your profile.
Being visible and getting noticed is a huge benefit of networking. Regularly attending business and social events will help to get your face known. You can build your reputation as a knowledgeable and supportive person by offering useful information or advice to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they have a requirement.

4. Increased confidence.
By regularly networking and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, will increase your confidence therefore helping your business to grow.

5. Most importantly …….. friendship.
Many friendships grow due to networking because most of us are like-minded business owners that want our company to flourish. Meeting and helping each other regularly encourages friendships to form.

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