Successful networking is a very important part of building your brand and can also propel your business.

We’re often told that we must “get out there and network”. But it’s hard! Why bother?  Well, here are five awesome reasons why we should bother and the amazing value that successful networking brings us. To be successful we just need to follow the golden rule: Give value to get value. In other words, we make sure that the people we meet get as much out of chatting with us as we get from chatting with them. This leads us into a whole new discussion about effective networking… and that’s a topic for another day.

Right in Barrie there are numerous events and outlets to utilize for effective networking. There are various events such as Mentor Mash’s, Trep Meetups, and Lunch and Learns where individuals have the opportunity to meet potential mentors and other business owners.

So back to the five amazing values of networking…

1. Getting your name out there.

It’s often said that it’s not what we know but who we know that drives success. More importantly it’s actually more about who knows us and knows what we do that really makes the difference. Remember, it’s not just the person we’re chatting with right then and there. If we do a good job we’re also effectively networking with all of their contacts. Making sure people understand our “value proposition” and what we’re all about enhances our business profile and gets us the value of great, free word of mouth marketing.

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Networking includes getting to know others within your community.

2. New community opportunities.

When groups of motivated and energetic leaders get together to network and chat great opportunities emerge. Not to be confused with sales leads or referrals these opportunities give us the chance to expand both our skills and our business. A few examples include: establishing joint ventures, sharing resources, finding speaking and writing gigs, sharing marketing opportunities and finding reliable professional services. The list is almost endless and the value to helping us effectively run and grow our businesses is huge.

3. Positive influence and motivation.

The people that we hang around with influence who we are and what we do so it’s really important to surround ourselves with positive, uplifting people who can help us to grow and thrive. Networking is great for this. It helps us find the right people who can motivate us through their success and experience. It also provides significant value in seeing just how their success was achieved. Also this can be a much-needed booster when our day isn’t so great and we need a bit of a lift. Remember, if they can do it, so can we!

4. Mentorship and support.

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Finding a good mentor is a key ingredient to business success.

Good networking will help us find those people who can spend time with us as our business grows. These are people who really get us and make great sounding boards for our new ideas. They also provide the honest, straightforward and helpful feedback that we often need to keep us heading in the right direction. Good mentorship relationships are invaluable and do take a while to develop. But, most of the good ones started out as chance networking encounters. And the ongoing value is tremendous.

5. Increased business.

This is the most obvious value and the one that we’re all looking for. It’s often the key reason many people go networking in the first place so why is it only number five on our list? Contrary to popular belief very few people walk away from a few hours of networking with a fistful of sales contracts. Referrals and new business opportunities do come to us through people we’ve met networking but only when we’ve done it right and they understand our true value proposition. To get the enormous value of new business out of networking we just have to work on the first four well. New referrals, often prequalified, will then flow to us almost magically. We simply follow up and turn these opportunities into happy and satisfied customers. Now there’s some real value!

In summary, networking at all levels and in all places will deliver real and tangible value to growing your business and expanding your circle of contacts. Just remember, the other networkers out there are finding it just as hard as you do. Make it easy for them and they’ll make it easy for you. All you have to do to get great rewards is to be out there networking.

Please post your comments, it’s all part of networking!

John Woollett is President and Managing Partner at Lionsview Business Consulting Services. He is a seasoned company executive and consultant with over 30 years of experience. He has an extensive history of successfully leading organizations to achieve significant improvements in their business planning, operational excellence and assisting with creating outstanding products and services. John currently focuses his work on emerging and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and registered charities.