Last week we featured an article about the importance of small business networking. This week we’d like to dig deeper into the specifics of how becoming part of a thoughtful, intentional business networking group can impact your revenue. Let’s dive in.
1. Learn from others’ experience
One of the benefits of a business networking group is that you’ll get to interact with business leaders who have a wide variety of experience and expertise. You’ll have opportunities to connect with more seasoned business owners as well as young, new talent in your industry. This benefits you because they all have a unique perspective to offer and you’ll be able to glean from a wide range of experience in a way that impacts your business growth positively.
If you are a new business owner, reach out to more established business professionals in your network. They have been where you are and they can relate to both the thrills and the stresses of venturing out into the world of small business ownership. Their experience can help you avoid any common pitfalls and business risks when you are just starting out. Everyone loves to be asked their opinion, so don’t be afraid to reach out for their advice on any concerns you have at your current stage of business ownership. They can help you identify key metrics to be aware of in the early stages of growth. They may have suggestions for how to streamline processes so that you can be efficient with your time. If they have been a community leader in your industry for many years, then they’ll likely have a high level of customer satisfaction and suggestions for how you can offer the best customer service possible.
And if you are the seasoned business owner in your networking group, be generous with your time and support of up-and-coming business owners in your area. And don’t forget that this is a learning opportunity for you as well.
Younger business owners will have unique insights into marketing, communication, and creating a consistent experience for a younger generation of clients. They’ll often take an open-minded approach to new technologies that are emerging in your field. They may have insights on how to create a good customer experience and memorable customer interactions through social media networks. They can provide you with a deeper understanding of how customer service intersects with technology in a digital age. Cultivating a professional relationship with the younger members of your networking group can help you stay abreast of current trends and consumer behavior in your industry.
Being an active member of your business networking group exposes you to a variety of perspectives, giving you industry insight that can help you grow your revenue. It will also open doors for new business opportunities from within your network.
2. Build brand recognition through thoughtful participation
Participating in a networking group helps you to build brand recognition. You are not just participating as yourself; you are participating as an ambassador for your small business! Your level of involvement and commitment to your networking group can help grow your brand recognition, which in turn expands your small businesses’ reach.
Think about the ways that you can thoughtfully build your brand recognition, outside of just attending and networking at in-person events. Does your business network bring in special speakers? Volunteer to speak on a topic that is important to you or that you have unique expertise in. Or use your connections to bring in guest speakers that can provide value to the business network.
Does your business networking group have a mentoring program? Volunteer to be a mentor for younger business owners in the group. Or help to get a mentoring program started, if there isn’t one yet. Help create activities that can get new members connected faster in your networking group.
Be thoughtful about how your business impacts other members of your network. The unique resources you have to offer, both as an individual and as a business, can help you attract new members to your network. Even something as simple as being approachable and generous with your time and contacts can help to build your brand recognition. Be the kind of person that brings a smile to others’ faces when they see you or talk about you.
Actions like these help to build your personal brand as a supportive and engaged member of your business networking group. That, in turn, supports your brand’s recognition and makes your small business one that people are happy to support and connect others to. The more people that are fans of you and your small business, the more you can organically grow your revenue through word of mouth.
3. Benefit from industry trainings and resources
Another benefit of a business networking group is that they expose you to new opportunities to advance your business skills. Whether through industry training, certification processes, or even just learning from speakers that are leaders in your industry, your knowledge and skill set as a small business owner will grow when you take advantage of these opportunities.
Your small business network may also offer educational resources through book and article recommendations, webinars, podcasts and more. They may expand your awareness of upcoming seminars, workshops, and trade shows where you can meet potential customers and partners.
All of these opportunities will hone your business acumen. You’ll find that you will make better, more strategic, and cost-effective decisions for the growth of your small business. Making smart decisions supports the financial stability, revenue growth, and overall better business outcomes for your company.
How can a business network help grow my revenue?
Getting involved in a small business networking group gives you access to people and resources that can expose you to a larger audience and give you learning opportunities that can help you make smarter business decisions. Both of these help grow your revenue over time.
What resources can my business network offer?
Each business network offers experiences and resources unique to their industry. Most offer a list of recommended books, articles, podcasts, and webinars that you can learn from. Many keep an updated list of industry events, conferences, and trade shows where you can make connections with other business leaders and potential clients.
How do I find a good business networking group?
Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start. They can connect you to industry events and business networking groups that are available in your region. They may also offer educational resources or a list of upcoming events where you can start to network and get to know other business owners in your industry.
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