In working life, as with everything, if you think you can do it all on your own, you’re a fool!

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of local networking groups on behalf of the organisation I work for. When I walked into my first event, I have to admit, I was slightly sceptical about the whole concept. A group of business owners and representatives getting together at the crack of dawn for a bacon sandwich and a chat – sounds like hard work to me, right?

Well yes, it does take a little bit of work and dedication but as the saying goes:

 

“Nothing worth having comes easy” – Generic Professional Development Blog Quote (Sorry!)

 

But my initial first impressions were very much put to bed as the meeting got going. It was amazing to see the micro-community this group had grown between them! This wasn’t just an early morning catch-up, it was the tip of an effective, relationship-building iceberg. And I wanted to be a part of it!

I’m now a regular member of a number of different networking groups that vary in their formality and structure. All of them bring something a little different whilst attracting a varied and interesting range of businesses and individuals. I enjoy each for their own unique reasons but the benefits are largely the same:

Benefit #1 – Networking gives you the opportunity to get a snippet of knowledge from a range of different business sectors. Whether you want to pick up a quick tip on marketing, some mortgage advice or you’re just interested in the latest computer trends, chances are a good networking group are going to have a specialist of each within it. And if there isn’t, chances are someone is going to know someone else that can help, which brings us nicely on to…

 

Benefit #2 – Depending on which article or study you read, the average adult knows around 600 other people. When you think about it, that’s pretty powerful. If you’re in a room of 20 people, the 2nd degree network (i.e the people they all know) is at 12,000. Whilst there will most likely be some mutual connections in there, you now have the potential access to 12,000 people, all with different businesses, services and knowledge sets that you can take advantage of. If you’re looking to make some new connections, networking may just be the thing for you!

 

Benefit #3 How often do you get to walk into a room a meet 20+ new people? For some, that can seem pretty daunting! Unlike a Friday/Saturday night out, there is no alcohol or loud music involved – with business networking you need to be able to chat to those around you and start building relationships. For those that find the sound of that challenging, networking is a great confidence builder as you spend more time doing it! Recently we wrote about getting over the things which stop us reaching our potential, if you’d like to check that out, jump over to this article.  

 

Benefit #4Struggling with a certain aspects of your role or workload? Well business networking is a great place to get some advice and guidance from others in the professional world. From regularly attending and building trust with the other members of your group, you can share experiences together and discuss ways to overcome problems and issues you’re experiencing in your workplace.


Benefit #5 – There are many reasons people go networking but often if you’re a business owner or you’re working in a Sales/Marketing role, you’ll hope that the network brings you business. Typically, from the relationships you build within a group, they will refer you and your business onto their contacts for a new opportunity. This also works for those of you who may use networking for employment, once the trust has been built, those around you may pass you on to a company looking to fill a position. Once you nail the relationship build process, opportunities will come from networking – you’ve just got to work at it!

 

So that’s the benefits of business networking but, in all honesty, it’s still very daunting for those that aren’t used to it. If you’re thinking of going along to an event for the first time, the team at Complex News have some great tips to get over the nerves and boost the experience:

I opened this article, talking about how those who think they can do it all on their own are wrong and I completely stand and live by that. No one individual can know or do it all, it’s the strength of those you can turn to in your time of need that will ultimately help you to grow, progress and succeed. Building a network is hard going, you have to put yourself out there and hope that the person on the other side of the conversation shares your ideals, values and passions for what you would like to achieve. But that goes two ways – open yourself up to be part of someone else’s network – share the experiences and knowledge you have – there is often no better feeling than being a part of another’s success.  

In the creation of this blog, I utilised the skills, knowledge and support of my own personal network. From the long term friend who supported and cultivated the concept, to the connection (and now friend) who gave me tips on the technicalities – without my network, I wouldn’t be where I am now in my career, my ambition or my life in general.   

I’ll end with one of my favourite business figures, Henry Ford, who has a fantastic quote to illustrate the power of those around you in your network:

 

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford