Perhaps the most overused word of the 21st century is network – it permeates our everyday vocabulary.
It’s time to cast a larger net if you expect to accomplish the greatest amount of work possible – this is the purpose of networking.
Professionals attend networking conferences regularly because it is directly connected to technological advancement.
The 21st century expansion of railways throughout America leveraged the word extensively, it does denote the idea of interaction, intersection, involvement, and inclusion.
No longer restricted to a particular industry or business concept, networking today means to connect with others in a more meaningful way.
No longer restricted to locale, networking is done in a plethora of ways through networks.
Some meet at a location. Others meet via conference call leveraging the telephone network – some gather on Webinars leveraging the internet.
The pandemic also bolstered live connections via Zoom and other digital platforms.
What does this mean?
People want to connect more now than ever before. And these connections have proven to reap profitable results.
Pitch Master’s Academy seeks to help its members grasp the totality of networking.
Not just attending a meeting or Webinar or Zoom gathering, but engaging and captivating audiences of various backgrounds who will rally to your cause, your mission, your business.
BUSINESS NETWORKING: WHAT IS IT?
Business networking is simple. It is the ability to connect with those who have a common interest in the type of business you engage in.
It is a meeting of like minds, where ideas can be cultivated, tried, tested, hashed out, and supported. It is these intangible benefits that make networking so powerful.
Small businesses tend to benefit significantly from networking. Often isolated, the small business owner can become their worst enemy.
In loneliness, many small business owners labor fervently yet find themselves restricted in terms of growth.
Therefore, networking for small business owners increases their breadth, depth, and girth of knowledge, information, and opportunity.
To leverage it effectively, the entrepreneur must understand the nature of networking.
The entrepreneur should understand the types of networking opportunities that will best suit their needs. Throughout the various stages of business development, your needs will change.
It is important to know how these networking opportunities work in cycles.
HOW DOES BUSINESS NETWORKING WORK?
Business networking is the coming together of like-minded individuals. However, how these like minds meet can take on a variety of faces. Below is a list of some basic types of business networking.
- The Happy Hour Mixer
- The Network Luncheon
- The Weekly Breakfast Gathering
- Traditional Rotary Club
- Local Chambers of Commerce Meetings
- National Business Associations with State and Local Chapters
- Licensed Professional Organizations
The list can go on, but reality holds: regardless of the face, being in the right place at the right time remains the essential factor for success.
When attending a business networking event, be sure to:
- Pass out your business card
- Gather business cards from other entrepreneurs
- Find out the nature of their business and where they are driving that business
- With whom do they associate in a typical supply chain – why?
- Share basic knowledge and ideas you are considering for your business – why?
Meaningful and helpful relationships are built at networking events. Over time, these relationships will become integral to the planning and executing ideas within your own business.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BUSINESS NETWORKING?
To measure the benefits of business networking is almost futile. They are too numerous and unmeasurable, yet evident at every turn.
There are many very tangible benefits to business networking. Here are some of the more common.
- Industry awareness
- Technological advancements
- Professional mentors
- Expansive contacts
- Trustworthy professional services
- Certified Public Accountants
- Business Partners
- Strategic Alliances
- Contracting Improvements
- Business Expansion (increase in customer reach)
Perhaps the most significant benefit, if one can be named, is the confidence level built in the entrepreneur.
The entrepreneur has unofficial partners no longer alone, almost like having industry experts in their cell phone contact list, resulting in a more confident and supported business.
Though intangible, this benefit tends to drive the company to heights of success that are undoubtedly measurable.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENTREPRENEUR
The greatest asset the entrepreneur possesses is the mind. With the creative prowess of the brain, as a visionary the entrepreneur can see what others do not.
They can embody consumers’ problems and, out of that embodiment, generate a plausible solution that alleviates the pain caused by the situation. In short, entrepreneurs are innovators.
To maintain such brain activity and creativity, entrepreneurs need development.
The development is not a degree, a certification, or elongated training, but an alignment with businesses, operational effectiveness, and a return on a nominal investment.
Below are some of the developmental benefits of business networking.
Networking is commonly associated with the development of entrepreneurs.
1. Enhanced Knowledge
The entrepreneur must be a forever learner. One must embrace the fact that knowledge is power, but more so that applied knowledge is power. Therefore, the entrepreneur must devote themself to becoming an expert in their line of business; however, the time to do so can intrude upon business. Therefore, business networking where industry experts present information dramatically enhances their ability to learn as they execute; this not only informs, but improves their business operations in real-time.
2. Communication Skill Development
Business networking demands one thing of the entrepreneur – speaking. Communication is greatly enhanced by attending business networking events. Whether casual or formal, attendance at business networking events will require the entrepreneur to talk, share, exchange, discuss, and debate in some fashion or another.
3. Improvement to Elevator Pitch
Are you struggling to nail that elevator pitch? Can’t seem to keep it under 5 minutes? Business networking will solve this problem. Some events will have you repeat your elevator pitch numerous times in a game designed to help entrepreneurs get to know one another and called different names in different places, the good old fashioned “musical chairs” concept where entrepreneurs are divided evenly and sat on opposite sides of a table. One side of the table rotates every 5 minutes while the other remains fixed. Each time, the rotating individual shares their elevator pitch. After one side has finished rotating, the opposite begins doing the same. The elevator pitch is refined and perfected in this type of environment. It becomes second nature, fluid, and adaptable.
4. Awareness: Reality Check
Many entrepreneurs find themselves alone. As such, the thoughts of the entrepreneur’s mind become a reality. However, this does not mean this is the case. In other words, just because an entrepreneur sees a particular issue in a certain way or understands a specific process in a specific manner does not make it necessarily so. Opinions and facts often get intermingled due to isolation of thought. Therefore, the business networking event helps the entrepreneur see the world in a big picture that is more representative of reality. The entrepreneur’s challenges may not be as severe as they think or as complicated as they regard them – this is the reality check. The entrepreneur gains perspective in the collective.
5. Improvements in Mental Health
Loneliness is not just a reality but also a detriment. The entrepreneur can develop depression and anxiety because they are alone. In addition, the entrepreneur can also create a false sense of reality, success, or loss because of this loneliness. Therefore, mental health can be detrimentally affected by entrepreneurship. To that end, the business networking event cures many of the mental ills that plague entrepreneurs, who suffer silently because of the perception of weakness associated with anxiety. Therefore, networking connects the entrepreneur with like-minded individuals who understand life as they live it and can support the entrepreneur as a person and not just a business owner.
HOW TO START NETWORKING
As with anything, starting can seem daunting. However, you will soon learn that networking is fun, exciting, inviting, and energizing.
Several networking opportunities exist in nearly every community in the United States.
Whichever route is taken, business networking should be an integral part of the entrepreneur’s life.
One of the best ways to discern whether a networking opportunity is viable is to ask business owners in the community.
Where do they network? What benefits have they gained from doing so? Do they think a business like yours would be enriched by attending or joining?
Pitch Masters Academy strengthens entrepreneurs in every way possible. Of course, the pitch is critical to business success, but experts at Pitch Masters Academy also recognize the development of the entrepreneur as a whole person.
Contact Pitch Masters Academy today and learn more about entrepreneurial development.