The Benefits of Networking
The dictionary tells us that networking is “the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.”
Sounds like a good thing to do if you run your own business, right? But what are the actual benefits to networking and why should you join a networking group?
Running your own business is hard work – hugely rewarding, but not always easy. Joining a networking group gives you the support you need to keep going, even on the tough days when you wonder if it’s worth pursuing your dream. The group will celebrate your successes, cheer you on from the side lines and give you a lift when you face challenges. It’s like having your own full time team. No matter how big or small the win is, or how big the challenge you face, that support will be there for you.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the wood for the trees and work out which direction to go next. You need someone to talk things through with, run your ideas past and help you work out what your next step could be. That’s where a networking group can help you – there are lots of people to ask for advice! There’s always someone who has been where you are and they’ll be willing to share their experience with you.
Raise your profile and that of your business
Joining a networking group means there will be more people who know you and the products or services you offer. People buy from people, and chances are you’ll find lots of potential customers in the network. Get to know other members and you’ll be able to recommend them to your friends and family, and others will do the same for you. It’s basically free advertising!
Build business connections
If you need practical support for your business, you’ll find network members you can work with. Whether you need someone to help with book keeping, teach you how to get the most out of social media, a new logo and brand refresh or uniforms for you and your staff, there will be people in the network who can help you. Find the connections you need with networking.
Grow your knowledge
There are always people to learn from in a networking group. Lots of networking events have speakers giving a talk or running a workshop that will help take your business from strength to strength. As well as building your business knowledge you might find yourself picking up a new hobby or finding a new tool to help boost your general wellbeing.
Find out what’s “trending”
It can be really tricky to keep on top of all the latest trends in social media, and most people agree trying to be everywhere isn’t practical, especially if you’re doing it all on your own. That’s where hearing about what’s popular amongst different customer groups, what new tools are emerging on social media and the tips and tricks to work with those famously complicated algorithms can be hugely beneficial. Instead of wasting time in areas that might not work for your business, find out from others what could and focus your efforts there.
Boost your confidence
Walking into a networking meeting for the first time can feel daunting, but here at Women Who, Worcestershire we’re a friendly bunch! Women struggle with imposter syndrome far more frequently than men, and that feeling that you can’t do something or that other people are better than you is a big reason for lots of women give up on their business. You will have the opportunity to talk to so many different people, both online and in person and with the support of all the other members your confidence will grow. Imposter syndrome, low self esteem or confidence won’t hold you back any more.
Informal market research
When inspiration strikes, but you’re not sure if your idea for a new product or service is a good one, or whether your customers will be interested, ask the group! Get some informal feedback from fellow network members before investing time and money.
Working with others could be what takes your business to the next level. Whether you’re looking for a long term opportunity, or some people to help bring your event ideas to life, there will be people you meet through networking that are looking to create similar things – together you can fly!
Improve your communication skills
At networking events you’ll often be invited to have 60 seconds in the spotlight. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and your unique selling point to other network members. 60 seconds isn’t long, so this is your perfect opportunity to perfect that elevator pitch so when you’re talking to potential customers they’ll immediately understand what you do and why you’re the best in your business.
Many of us have built genuine friendships through networking. It isn’t just about growing our businesses, but about social support and our wellbeing too.
Fundraising for your local community
Many networking groups fundraise for a range of chairites. At Women Who, Worcestershire we work with a local charity for 12 months and run a number of different fundraising events that will also support you to boost your business. We believe its important to give back to our communities. For us, it’s supporting local in more ways than one.
A women’s network
We are a female only business network here at Women Who, Worcestershire. Why does that matter? We recognise that society has a way to go in closing the gender gap and that many women feel intimidated by the presence of men in a business setting. Joining Women Who, Worcestershire means you won’t have to feel that way, you’ll be joining a community of like minded women ready and willing to support you reach your potential.
Joining the network
It’s free! Head over to join our online networking group – click here to visit the group and join.
Get to know other members in the online group, then come and join us at a face to face event so you can meet everyone in person. We’d love to have you join us.
Carrie & Lisa
Creating opportunities through networking, events and peer support for female business owners and company directors in Worcestershire.
Surround yourself with a positive, supportive and inspiring network.