Most business people do not like networking in business, but are really quite good at networking with friends and family.
In business it seems different – it almost seems “fake” but we know that making the right connections in the right areas, appears important above all else.
Networking in business will make life easier especially in those times when business is a bit slow, and there will be those times.
Why Is Networking In Business Hard?
If you ask people about networking in business most people will say they really don’t like it.
Then when you go into a big room you will always see people gravitate to people they already know.
Maybe it’s because we’re told from a young age not to talk to strangers, or maybe we are a little insecure about ourselves and what we have to say.
Even those people that look confident will probably tell you that they hated networking to start with, or maybe still do.
I personally have been in business for myself most of my working life and as a mortgage broker since 1997 and hated business networking. About 2007 when the Global Financial Crisis started to hit I realised that I knew quite a few other business people and it was these networks that really meant that I stayed on in business while so many other mortgage brokers closed up shop and went off to do something else.
Yes, networking in business is hard, but being in business has never been as easy as some people think. It is the doing of the “hard yards” that make us successful and builds confidence too.
But most people are not comfortable public speaking or networking.
This is a short but an interesting video by Canadian business women Kelly Hoey on networking;
Who Knows What You Know
“It’s not who you know. It’s not what you know,” she said. “It’s who knows what you know.”
This was the statement that stuck in my mind.
It’s not who you know – in New Zealand we always consider so much about success in business is about who you know. You see other businesses get ahead based on a personal relationship which has overlapped into business, or a business opening that happened because someone tapped a person on the shoulder and gave an endorsement. That is just the way things roll here, but networking in business might allow some of those opportunities to open up for you too … if you work on those relationships.
It’s not what you know – in business it is expected that you ‘know your stuff’ and of course you want to be known as the person that knows it better than your competitors. The problem is that people will never know what you know (or don’t know) unless they experience it first hand.
It’s who knows what you know – the aim is to have a network of people that know what you do and who will tell others what you do and how well you do it.
We might be busy at the moment and not looking for any more work; however things can change.
They say that most people starting work today will have more than one career in their working lives and having good business networks will make transitioning from one career to another a lot easier and may even open doors to bigger and better opportunities.
Many people are relying on internet platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to manage their relationships, and while they are good I believe it is also a good idea to have your own personal blog and to make sure that you engage in face to face networking.
Here is a little on what I use;
Facebook for Business: This is my main business Facebook Page but I also have created a few other pages designed to target specific areas of business and some Groups too. With all social media marketing you need to have a plan if you want to make the most of these platforms.
LinkedIn for Business: I find LinkedIn useful for linking to people I know in business, but also it’s interesting how many people get in touch via LinkedIn.
My Personal Blog: I use this to talk about life and business plus to write stuff that I find interesting or have an opinion on – like this. Having your own blog or website is easier than you think to create and it means that you can have this as the basis for all of your online communications and you can create e-books and other information to give away on social media too. I have even previously written an article on why everyone should have a personal blog.
Business Network International (BNI): This is a networking group that I joined about 5-years ago and in 2016 I was instrumental in setting up a new chapter (group) in Westgate. I really believe that BNI is one of the best ways to market a small business locally and while I was skeptical at first I would encourage anyone to get along to their local group to see how this works.
The Sticky Handshake: This is a new and free online community of small business owners who want to make real connections with other small business owners, and to help each other grow. We are dedicated to small businesses because small businesses are different.
The key thing with any networking is to build a network of people that know what you do, who will tell others what you do and how well you do it.