Networking is one of the most powerful ways of growing your business there is. Diane Helbig, author of Lemonade Stand Selling wrote ‘Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come’ and Porter Gale famously wrote a book about it Your Network is Your Net Worth.
There is no doubt that creating great networks gives you the opportunity to get business referrals. These referrals are powerful. It is expensive to advertise for clients and even if they see your ad people may not come to you. Word of mouth will always win out.
Famous entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki said:
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute”.
The power of the network is not just in finding clients. It is much deeper than that. Sure, you will find people who are interested in your product, and you might even find services that you need. That is the immediate benefit but having a strong network behind you will be there as a support mechanism.
It is as much about helping other people as it is about finding clients. In helping each other you create strong bonds and real friendships.
Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging. — Deepak Chopra
I believe that networking is one of the things that people have missed most in the past eighteen months. Obviously, we have missed our friends and family primarily but outside of the direct pain of family events we have missed and loved ones that we may have lost, I believe that we have missed the further human connection.
If you are a businessperson or entrepreneur, then as dearly as you love and care for your friends and family it is likely that they do not always understand what you are doing. They might not understand why you are labouring away trying to build something when you could “just get a job”.
People who you network with will understand this. They will understand working on a Saturday morning or late into the evening. They will understand why you have to take a phone call in the middle of the film. They will understand the joy of building something from the ground up.
Dale Carnegie writes in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. — Dale Carnegie
This is one of the biggest secrets of great networking. And the truth is that as people we are interested in other people. It is part of what it is to be human to create connections with other humans.
Indeed, humans create connections with non-humans too. We create very strong connections with animals. We even invite them to live with us in our homes. We value connection and the connections that we make in networking go way beyond the direct profits we may make from those we meet.
Connections we create by being genuine and forming real friendships will not only bring us business either directly or via referrals, but it will also create a group of likeminded individuals who will be a support network.
Yes, You never know, one day you might meet a friendly chap perhaps named Bradley and four years later he might invite you to join him in an exciting new venture doing something you love!