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 recently been lucky enough to have spent some time with the expert of networking, Jeni Smith of Networking KnoWho 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.
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.
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. A recent example is a collaboration of members Teesdale Cheesemakers and Northern Star Tepees, enabling a limited and exclusive glamping offer at Cafe Cheesedale 👌
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.
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’re on twitter, join in with #AgriChatUK on Tuesday evenings from 8pm.
If you are a farmer 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.