If you’re not hitting up every networking event you can in your local community and industry as a whole, you’re likely not growing your business nearly as fast as you could be. Networking is still something that needs to be done face-to-face to be effective.
Sure, you can creep on people via social media, but it’s about as human as breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend via text message! Technology has made us all into idiots, as Albert Einstein fairly accurately predicted in his time:
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
Don’t be a social pariah. You really need to get out there and develop real relationships. Believe it or not, the blinding speed and convenience of technology is still no substitute for good old fashioned eye contact and body language!
Here’s 6 reasons you need to start networking (in person) ASAP:
1. Access to seasoned pros.
Get into the right networking events and groups, and you’ll have access to people who’ve faced the same challenges you are currently. They can help you to circumnavigate the muddy waters and brainstorm better ways to run your business more efficiently and increase profitability much faster than you can do on your own. Seasoned entrepreneurs also have access to resources you currently do not. Think these people are gonna become your Twitter buddy just because you decide to add them like every other schmuck entrepreneur does?
2. More warm intros.
Busy business professionals often do not have the time to meet and greet with wannabee entrepreneurs seeking an “in” into industry groups, events, promotions, etc. They often have gatekeepers who monitor their phone calls, social, and emails. If you network yourself diligently, you’re bound to meet at least one big player, or someone with connections to big players in your industry that can help make those invaluable warm introductions needed to get past gatekeepers.
3. Find better suppliers and service providers.
When networking at industry and business events, or when gaining memberships to exclusive networking groups, you’re bound to run into vendors and services that can help you save money, increase turnaround, and otherwise improve the services you offer to your clients. You won’t find these folks on social media. Some of the best out there don’t advertise in traditional media because they like to keep their client circles limited to those recommended by professionals they trust.
4. Strength in numbers.
It takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said for most businesses. There’s a lot of luck involved in starting a successful business, and that applies to stumbling into the right clients and business partners. The more people you have in your group, naturally the more opportunities will come your way including money-saving, expansion, marketing exposure, and more. Social media groups can be very powerful, but far less effective if you’ve never actually met those people in person.
5. Getting your name out there.
It should be obvious that networking helps a business to get their name out into the public eye, including your local business community. Think of how many times someone asks “What do you do?” at social events. It’s pretty much the number one ice-breaker. Hand out business cards, exchange phone numbers and emails, and wait for the leads to start rushing in!
6. Keep abreast of industry news and trends.
Nothing curbs a business’s progress faster than a suddenly getting hit in the face by monumental changes to your industry. Even big businesses aren’t immune — ever heard of a little company called Kodak that was decimated virtually overnight by the shift to digital photography? Disruptive technology took them from an international household name to barely being a blip on modern stock exchanges. Had they networked a little more effectively, perhaps someone like an Elon Musk could have talked some sense into them!
It’s not enough to sit behind a computer or smartphone and stalk business professionals on social media. Networking is something that needs to be done in person, face-to-face and eye-to-eye. It’s how all humans once communicated, and still an absolute must for entrepreneurs looking to grow their brand and excel in the modern business landscape.
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