Networking is an activity where business people interact or develop business relationships. It also involves information sharing, and can provide you with opportunities to discover potential partners and customers. Bluntly put; no networking, no customer. No customer, no money. No money, business dies. It’s a simple as that. Apart from poor goods and services, poor marketing strategies, and lack of diligence, so many businesses fail because they do not network.
Truth is, you are the Chief Marketing Officer of your business. And no matter how much you have paid for ad campaigns and the likes, the onus rests upon you to attract prospects and turn them to customers. And what better way to attract prospects than from other entrepreneurs?
You can’t be in business and continue to chant “I just want to do my own thing.” No! It does not work that way. While I understand that you must develop your own Unique Selling Proposition (USP), you need connections to ACTUALLY sell.
Entrepreneurs that know how to network will succeed easily than those that don’t. And any business that does not network will fold up sooner than later. Here’s why:
- They Do Not Get Relevant Information In Their Industry
A fellow entrepreneur sent me a message sometime ago about a business plan competition that was supposed to result in getting a grant of about $50, 000. I was surprised that even though I spend a lot of time online, I never heard of it, and I never would have if not because I have a strong network.
Have you noticed that the more information you get about something, the more motivated you are to act on it? True, yeah? That is it! That is the power of information.
As a startup entrepreneur, you need all the information you can lay your hands on. To lay hold of this information, you need to have the right company. And what better way to get into that company than by networking?
- They Miss Out on Opportunities
The number one goal of networking is opportunities; whether to learn or to gain potential clients. You miss opportunities; you miss out in business.
If you are not finding and grabbing opportunities as a startup entrepreneur, you are trying to climb a very steep slope with no tool; you eventually get to a point where you just let go as the frustration keeps biting.
I once missed out on a business deal that meant supplying a lot of goods to a hotel in my city. The reason was simply because I didn’t have the right network back then.
Do not let that happen to you, Network!
- They Find it Difficult to Overcome Setbacks
Your networks/connections can help restore confidence and hope for you. Many times, you find that the setback someone is experiencing, another person has experienced that and more, and they are still moving forward. What else can bring one up on his feet more than that?
When you fall, it’s likely that you will stay down if you are walking alone.
- They Get Little Or No Visibility
There are over 1 billion websites today, about 3 billion internet users, 1.6 billion Facebook users, and over 2 million blog posts written everyday.
These figures are huge. So many things scampering for everybody’s attention and it becomes more and more difficult to reach everybody. What smart businesses do is direct their campaigns to where their potential customers are.
They do that through networking.
The more you network, the more relevant people get to know of what you do; and because these contacts have good levels of visibility, you too become relatively visible through them. You can get free adverts directed to your audience through networking.
- They Will Be Lonely
Yes, as an entrepreneur, you will be alone most times; as a matter of fact you need to be alone most times. But being alone is not the same thing as being lonely.
You can be in a carnival and still be lonely. Do not get it twisted; loneliness hampers peak performance and productivity. The lonelier you get, the more your business drops. This is because as a startup, your business is most likely a sole proprietorship, and when you underperform, it means your business will underperform.
Networking, apart from growing your business, helps you gain friends. Without networking, you work and walk alone, and when you break down, so does the business.
Writing this article has been extremely difficult because I do not expect any startup business not to network. But if you have been wondering why networking is important, this article helps to answer you also.