Within the competitive marketing landscape that we work in today, there are several key differentiators that set young entrepreneurs apart from one another. Aside from their knowledge and experience within the industry, a component of success that sets entrepreneurs apart from their competition is their ability to network and present themselves as thought leaders within their community.
Most social networking events are hosted within a casual atmosphere, allowing members to informally chat with others and discuss recent struggles they are experiencing within their industry. It’s also a time to showcase your knowledge and expertise within your industry and create valuable relationships within business professionals.
Regardless of your title or status within your industry, if you don’t network, It is guaranteed that you are missing out on a huge opportunity to expand your knowledge and grow within your professional career. Whether you’re a young entrepreneur or a well-recognized thought leader within the business industry, networking opens doors and opportunities for you that you may have never encountered previously. Networking is beneficial for everyone; it’s just a matter of how much time and effort you put into it.
Why Is Networking So Beneficial?
Networking allows like-minded professionals within different industries to come together, share their passions, and brainstorm ideas off one another. It’s a time to showcase your knowledge and expertise within your industry and create valuable relationships with other business professionals. During this time, one can share the company firsthand and create valuable connections that you will want to capitalize on in the future. It’s also a time to offer other’s advice and relate with one another on the hardships experienced.
According to Grayson Lafrenz, one of the founding partners at Power Digital:
“The key to business networking is providing value to others. If you help others accomplish their goals, you will create valuable connections and build long-term relationships that will most likely benefit you in the long-run.”
However, with that being said, it’s not easy. You need to invest a lot of time and effort into networking for you to optimize your potential. I like to think of it in terms of deposit and withdrawal. As a rule of thumb, you should always ‘deposit’ more than you ‘withdrawal’. However, when the time arises when you need help, you are better positioned to make a ‘withdrawal’.”
Business Networking Tips
Your networking consistency is just as important, if not more important than attending the initial events. Although it’s important to stay consistent and keep attending events, it’s critical that you stay connected with the people you met after the events. Fostering those relationships and continuing the momentum is key to your success. If the momentum gets lost, your initial effort and the time you put into it will be wasted.
As we’ve experienced with any business meeting or deal, following up and offering both parties next steps is the key to success. It is what sets some businesses apart from others. At the end of the networking event, discuss the upcoming steps on how you will follow up with the person you spoke with. The objective is to become a strong asset for that individual, someone who cannot be replaced. The better connected you stay with your networking group, the more it will benefit you in the long run.
Your brand, and your confidence in your brand are also vital within networking because it represents who you are as a business professional and what you want to achieve and how you are valued as a representative within your industry. When networking, your brand is reflected in what you wear, what you say, and how well you engage with others. Being aware of that in advance puts you in a better position.
While you are networking, it’s important to consider that everyone is strapped for time and there are not enough hours to accomplish all your goals. It’s crucial that you are dedicated and investing time wisely. In other words, don’t just attend an event just to attend one. Be prepared and have a strategy in place. What type of conversations do you want to have? How can you present yourself as a thought leader? What do you want to get out of it? By having a strategy and going into an event with the right mindset.
Related: How to Use LinkedIn Like a Pro
To continue to build upon your connections and grow as a professional within your career, you should continue networking events and strive to learn, listening and ask questions – stay curious, relevant and forever inspiring. People want to network with those who are inspiring self-motivators who can carve their own path. Self-motivated individuals are passionate about their focus and want to help others learn and do the same to better the world around them! Helping others will equate to progress in your industry overall!
- Networking allows you to present yourself as a thought leader within your industry
- The key to business networking is providing value to others, even if they outside your industry
- The connections you create through social networking events will open doors and opportunities for you that you may have never encountered
- Your brand confidence is vital because it represents who you are as a business professional and what you want to achieve and how you are valued as a representative within your industry
- When networking, you need to invest your time and make more “deposits” than you do “withdrawals.” When the time arises and you need help, you’ll be well-positioned to make a “withdrawal.”
- Be the person who is irreplaceable.