Small business owners are inherently independent and steadfastly self-reliant. The thought of reaching out to others for help and assistance tends to rub them the wrong way. After all, getting to do their own thing without the need for anyone else’s opinion or approval was part of the allure of starting their own business.
Few, if any, small business owners remain in business for very long if they continue to think and act this way. Small businesses live and die by the spending decisions of others; a stubbornly closed-minded approach to business doesn’t do much good if people aren’t buying what you’re selling.
What’s more, there’s no such thing as getting it done entirely on your own. Everyone, from Jeff Bezos to mom and pop dry cleaners, relies on others to achieve success. With this in mind, let’s take a look at five benefits of business networking for small business owners:
Reaching out to other business owners and industry professionals helps expose us to new thoughts and ideas. Better bookkeeping techniques, streamlined hiring processes, and sensible marketing solutions can all be discovered through conversations and meetups with fellow entrepreneurs. It’s one of the most effective ways to significantly improve business operations.
By getting to know other businesses in the area, small business owners can devise brilliant sales strategies surrounding those relationships. For example, a Chicago Loop dentist office could work with a local portrait photographer to showcase a series of before and after smiles. It’s an excellent way for both businesses to benefit from each other’s services and expertise.
Businesses don’t exist inside a vacuum. They operate in neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, and beyond. By getting more involved with the local community, a small business becomes part of that community. Over time, that can lead to customer loyalty, cultural significance, and meaningful impact, all of which are things money can’t buy.
The most commonly cited benefit of networking is the increased exposure a business has to potential customers. While many folks have mistaken this for an excuse to expect free work stuff from small business owners, the actual mechanism is meant to drive more people to your brand. Sure, a significant number of them won’t convert into customers, but enough of them will make it worth the effort.
Finding and hiring talented staff is one of the most formidable hurdles for small business owners to overcome. Much of the challenge stems from unfamiliarity with your company. The best candidates are reluctant to pursue employment with a seemingly fly-by-night operation. Small business owners are more likely to attract the right candidates by engaging in various business networking strategies.
Small business owners are, generally speaking, an individualistic and self-sufficient lot. With that said, they can’t do it alone. Not only do they need the patronage of customers and the revenue they bring, but they also need a network of fellow business owners, industry experts, and everyday individuals.
Like the environment, economies consist of ecosystems, many of which are relatively small in scope. Small businesses have to be a part of that ecosystem to be successful. Networking is a way to do that.