The benefits of networking for a new business

June 5, 2023
I cannot recommend networking highly enough for anyone who is starting and growing their business. The benefits of networking can be experienced across a number of areas, including client acquisition, sales skills, interpersonal skills, resources and support.

Firstly I feel I should dispel a few misconceptions about networking, to ensure that we’re on the same page.

  1. Networking is not focussed on meeting your end client at a networking event. Although occasionally this may happen, this is usually not how networking works. It’s important to understand this, so you don’t focus on finding your ideal client at a networking event. They are often not there and that is okay.

  2. Networking is not about selling to everyone you meet. Refer to point 1 above. You are not talking directly to your ideal client. Secondly, you will not make a good impression if you have an agenda to sell your services to those you meet. What you want to do is build awareness of what you do and develop trust, which is all about building relationships.

Here’s what I think are the key benefits of networking for a new business:

Establish referral partnerships
Networking provides the opportunity for you to build relationships with other businesses that service a similar client to you (and who are not your direct competitor). It means that you can refer business to each other. You do different things in your businesses but service the same people. This is a win-win.

Learn about new business opportunities
Meeting other business people means that you are exposed to more information and resources in the business world. Networking groups and leaders will often share resources and opportunities for businesses. It’s important to have business contacts to ensure that you’re hearing about opportunities as they arise, whether it be for funding or free resources.

Meet prospective clients
I know I did say that you won’t meet your ideal client at a networking event, but occasionally you do. Remember in the first meeting your focus should be about developing trust and helping the prospect understand what you do and how you could help. If there is genuine interest you can take it a step further, such as meeting for a coffee to discuss your service offering. Don’t try and sell to them on your first meeting.

Develop supportive relationships with other business owners
Being a solo startup service provider, it can be isolating. You are the boss, the employee, marketer and service provider. It is important to get to know other business owners who are supportive of what you are doing. You can sound out ideas to them, share resources and generally be each other’s cheer squad as needed. Business is a journey and having support around you is important for your business sustainability and your own mental health.

The Solo Startup Coach acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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