Image of an online networking meeting

Networking is essential to grow your business

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

I’m sure you’ve heard that saying – and it’s so right.

Now, I find networking incredibly difficult – I’m a fish out of water and force myself to attend events because I know it’s the right thing to do. But why is it right? I’ve been lucky enough to have spent some time with the expert of networking, Jeni Smith of Netkno who explained that people do business with those that they know, like and trust. So how do people get to know you? By attending networking! But networking isn’t just about meeting people. There are other reasons why it’s essential to grow your business.

1. To gain knowledge

Jeni explained that rather than networking to sell, we should look at it as networking for knowledge, which has been a gamechanger for me. It’s taken the pressure off ‘selling’ which quite frankly I hate. I have learned that the people in my network come from a wide variety of backgrounds and offer a range of perspectives and wisdom, which is great. Asking for feedback or discussing a point of view helps me to expand my knowledge and allows me to see things from another perspective.

2. Opportunities for collaboration

Networking is an effective way of exploring opportunities and collaborations. There will be people in your network that are able to introduce you to someone who could be beneficial to you. You don’t know when or how opportunities will arise but it’s important to be ready to seize the opportunities when they come. One example is a collaboration of members Teesdale Cheesemakers and Northern Star Tepees, enabling a limited and exclusive glamping offer at Cafe Cheesedale 👌

3. Skill development

Networking is an important skill that can easily be learned and refined. It requires many soft skills including listening, problem-solving, confidence, negotiating, engagement, and so on. It teaches you how to approach and communicate with others, how to sell yourself in a quick elevator pitch and how to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.

4. Increase your confidence

By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, it will help increase your confidence. Personal and professional growth is dependent on talking to people and making connections. Have a positive and valuable attitude – focus on your skills, experiences and connections – and you will act with the confidence you need to succeed!

Time to put your brave pants on?

If you are a farming family or rural business owner, I would love to see you at our next event. We’re an informal bunch, you’ll gain some knowledge, there may be opportunities for collaboration and it’ll boost your confidence.

Join our community now.

Rural Business Network – supporting your rural business journey

We are a UK-wide community of farming families and rural business owners who want to learn, connect and grow our businesses.

How do we support you?

  • We run member-only events, where you will learn from experts on a wide range of subjects from business planning and marketing to regenerative agriculture and tourism trends. Most events are recorded so you can watch them on-demand if you are too busy to attend.
  • We send a well-regarded weekly e-Newsletter with updates, industry news and opportunities. Don’t worry, they are short and to the point!
  • We provide opportunities to talk to people in a similar situation, at events, in our Facebook Group and in our WhatsApp groups.
  • We will connect you to other organisations that can help.

12 months membership is just £66 (inc. VAT). Join us now.

Rural Business Network logo