Ten Reasons Why I Network - and they are not what you think.
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I am often asked about where one can get most traction for new business. Where appropriate, my answer might focus on what direct benefits I get from networking, but I know that while important, listing business benefits alone that I receive does not fully tell the story about my experience with networking.
So upon greater reflection, here are my Top Ten Reasons for making the effort to go forth and network.
10) Networking gives me a sense of place.
Educational and social meetings are held in various places around Niagara. In the past year or so, I have been to at The REX in Welland, Verge Insurance, Critelli Furniture, Hunters Pointe Golf Club, Niagara College to name a few. When welcomed into these places as a member of the networking group, I get to understand them better, to see places I may not get to otherwise. I am actively exploring my Region.
9) A sense of community.
Running a small business can sometimes be isolating. I work long hours in a focussed attempt to make my business a success. Networking events get me out of the office and in front of like-minded people that can share their ups and downs of business ownership. They are a great class of people - Intelligent, hard working and fun.
8) A chance to contribute.
Whether making an introduction between business owners or helping shape ideas, the Networking allows me to contribute to the success of others.
7) A chance to promote my business.
Through membership guides, a paid promotional announcement, networking at events or listings on websites. My membership helps put my name in front of potential clients.
6) Adds credibility.
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I am serious about my business and my membership shows that. Although not every one may have an understanding about the benefits of using my services, they all understand that I am representing my business when I show up..
5) Provides discounts.
I find formal offers to members in published guides and discounts offered in person are real money savers not to be overlooked. There is no secret handshake, but over all I have found that members go above and beyond for other members and with 6 or 7 events per month, it is getting so you cant swing a cat without hitting a few.
4) Increases my profile in the community.
The badge I display on my website, the small advertisement in the publication. Iconic symbols associate my business with a greater group. On top of that, and because I engage on multiple levels, I am personally seen at events and in meetings. It a Region of this size it is not uncommon to meet members at fundraisers, at the supermarket and at the rink too.
3) Helps professional development.
This is probably the most important reason why I am an avid networker. I can watch others and learn or go to formal learning events; I can see keynote speakers and participate in forums; I can get referrals and resources from members. When I am active in my networks I become better at what I do.
2) Supports the greater good.
These organizations promotes business in Niagara. My membership means I am working, in my own small way for a better Region.
1) A reason to update my wardrobe.
In my business (Online Marketing), I am often heard and not seen. Getting out from behind my desk for a meeting, social event or educational luncheon gives me the opportunity to put on a shirt and tie, get out to see some old friends and meet some new ones. Without networking I fear my lapels might be to wide, my eyeglasses too square or my iPhone too dated. Fashion advice for men is hard to come by and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Membership has it's privileges. What are your reasons for belonging to the groups that you do?
Please share your comments below.