Networking is one of the most important factors in building a successful small business. Through networking, you can develop mutually beneficial relationships with people working in your field, a related field, and many unrelated fields. All of these relationships are important and beneficial to your business! Here are a few reasons why it is important to meet all types of people in the small business world.
Your field: networking with people in the same field as you is crucial. While these people may be ‘competitors,’ they are also met with the same challenges that you are. Two or more people faced with the same challenge are better able to devise strategies and overcome said challenges.
Related fields: these people will often become vital referrals for you. Being in a related field, they will meet with people often seeking out similar skills. For example, if you are a carpet cleaner, you will most definitely come across people looking to have their house painted as well. If you have networked with a painter, you have someone to refer. This not only benefits the painter, but it benefits your clients as well. Happy clients are repeat clients, and if you make a referral you are likely to receive one back when the opportunity arises.
Unrelated fields: networking with other business owners, no matter what their business is, is very beneficial! All businesses deal with similar things- customer service, bookkeeping, data management, etc. By networking with other business owners you will often find ways to improve your business practices.
Here in Minnesota, we are part of the WIN network. On September 27th they are hosting a Members-only Small Group Business Brainstorming session. This is a wonderful example of how small businesses can network and help each other out. This is an opportunity to discuss issues you are facing, ask for advice, and help others.
Networking is truly invaluable to a small business owner. If you aren’t doing it yet, you will be amazed at what it can do for your business!