What an amazing article from Forbes which everyone should read if they wonder what the value of Networking can have on their business. In fact, one study states that networking is vital to the success of 78% of startups.
Our business has grown expeditiously by joining BNI San Diego and the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. They both have some amazing Social Events that don’t require membership. However, once you see the value each one brings you will highly consider joining.
- Gives you a chance to refine your message. Networking events are a great place to meet a lot of like-minded people at one time, so take advantage of that. If you’re new to the networking game, these events are a great place to hone in on your company’s mission statement and really help you definitively determine what you stand for.On average, you have about 30 seconds to convey who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart. Start with one person at a time, and by the end of the event, you’ll find your message polished and ready for any listening ear.
- The connections you make. Even if you don’t get a call or email right away, the amount of first-hand connections you make at networking events is incredibly valuable. You should have a stack of business cards by the end of each event. When you reach out to each new contact, they’ll be able to put your face to your name, and you’re much more likely to get a response.In fact, 85% of professionals say they develop a more meaning relationship after meeting someone in-person. Remember to act quickly, and send an email or LinkedIn request within the first 24-48 hours while your interaction is fresh in someone’s mind. Brownie points if you think to ask someone interesting to coffee—this deepens the connection, and your network.
- It forces you to get out there. We tend to be our own worst critics, and in business, that means being your own worst enemy. If you need to build your confidence and shut out the negative voices doubting your new business, a networking event is the perfect place to start. You’ll see tons of new faces, hear a plethora of business ideas, and come away with at least a handful of new contacts, connections, and support. Conquer your fears and put yourself in the driver’s seat! Practice your elevator pitch, which I write about often, and give yourself permission to give the event your full effort and presence.