The broader benefits of networking

When you first start networking it is easy, and totally understandable, to be focused on the immediate and very obvious benefits of networking, namely; having the opportunity to “promote*” your own business and identifying suppliers.

* I should say I use the word “promote” advisedly as those of you have read my previous blogs will know and understand!

However when you talk to people who go networking regularly they will tell you that the long term benefits are on a much deeper level.

At recent events, I have had fascinating discussions with / about:

• Established businesses who are looking to diversify and widen their product range / services

• New businesses putting together initial sales and marketing plans

• Breach of copyright

• Staff recruitment

• Data protection

• Businesses looking for premises

• The perennial favourite of all small business owners everywhere – relinquishing control and outsourcing

• CRM packages

… to name but a few

Those of you who know me will not be surprised to learn that I have lots to say on all these subjects! This is, in part, because of my own experience (21 years of running my own business) but it is also because I have had discussions with so many of you at Coffee and Connect meetings on these (and many other) subjects related to running a successful business.

One thing I can say is that there is never any definitive “right” or “wrong” answer to these questions but talking to other people who have experienced similar challenges and found solutions is extremely helpful – both from a practical perspective e.g. “Have you tried xxx?” and in terms of speaking to other people who understand your question because they have been there too.

Getting to know other local business people who have a wealth of experience and knowledge is one of the main, though less immediately obvious, benefits of networking … and of course the counterpart to this is that they get to understand you and your business as well so can offer informed input specific to your own situation.

The other personal note I would add is that I simply love talking business (business is fun – well it should be if you are running your own company) and often I find that a random discussion at a networking event will spark an idea for something I can do in my own business.

So if you and your business could benefit from a broader perspective why not come along to Coffee and Connect.

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