Networking for Businesses: Why It’s Essential

July 18, 2024 | Insurance 101

This article was originally published June 13, 2024

Some business owners enjoy connecting with people in their industry. Others would rather focus on operations. But the fact remains: Networking is essential for businesses, especially small businesses.

Why? We list and explain the advantages below. 

Whether you can’t wait for the next networking opportunity or have to psych yourself up for socializing, it’s important to understand the benefits of small business networking. Once you learn about them, it’s crucial to get busy making connections and growing your network! 

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Leverage the Benefits of Networking in Business  

As a business owner, you want to see your company grow and thrive. When you think about how to achieve those goals, you probably recognize the importance of business relationships. 

Some of those connections might happen by chance, but you shouldn’t bet your company’s success on that. And you don’t have to! You can create a strong network for your small business and enjoy these benefits: 

Insights on running a successful business
Whether you just started your first business or you’ve been an owner for decades, there’s always something to learn from your industry contacts. One reason is the business landscape continually evolves. Markets change. Customer preferences change. Products and services change. And if one of your connections is successfully adapting to new conditions, why not save yourself some time and effort by learning from their experiences?  

Referrals that lead to new business opportunities 
It’s common to have customers ask about a product or service you don’t offer. How do you reply? If you know a business owner whose company can handle the request, you probably refer the person to them. That’s a huge win for that company—a new business opportunity with zero marketing cost. You can experience the same thing when the people in your network refer potential customers or clients to you

Mutually beneficial collaborations 
Getting to know owners of various businesses can pave the way for powerful partnerships. Let’s say you own a cleaning service but don’t do any type of repair work, and you connect with a contractor who excels at repairs but wants someone with more cleaning expertise to finalize work sites when they complete projects. Partnering lets you both pitch more comprehensive services to your potential clients. 

Increased access to funding 
Need money to expand your business? It’s much easier to get funding when an investor in your small business network has gotten to know you, your company, and your work ethic, and they’re confident you’ll make the most of an investment. Or maybe your concern is protecting your current investment. In that case, one of your contacts might talk about how important business insurance is and point you to a reliable and respected provider (like biBerk).

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Early identification of industry trends
In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s harder than ever to stay current on customer preferences, technology advances, etc. But when you’re part of a broad network, it’s like you’ve got extra eyes and ears gathering and sharing information. 

Support and encouragement 
Nobody has to tell you that running a business isn’t easy. Talking with people in your network won’t necessarily solve all of your problems, but it can definitely help you release some stress. It reminds you that you’re not alone. And just knowing that most business owners face tough challenges at times can be reassuring and give you the energy and motivation to keep moving forward.  

Opportunities to be a mentor 
Sometimes, the best thing about being part of a business network isn’t what you get out of it but what you get to put into it. Sharing your stories, offering advice, and helping other owners clear hurdles and avoid pitfalls that slowed you up in the past feels great. 

Small Business Networking Tips

Now that we’ve covered the advantages of networks in the business world, you might be thinking, “I’m all in! How do I get started?” 

The available networking resources and opportunities will vary based on your company type, location, etc. But here are some general suggestions for networking effectively:

  • Be genuine and focus on building strong relationships. 
  • Provide value to other members.
  • Participate in or create a broad network with diverse experiences and opinions.
  • Leverage virtual and in-person networking opportunities. 
  • Be approachable and an active listener. 
  • Acknowledge challenges, but be solution-focused and optimistic.
  • Go “above and beyond” in any commitments you make. 

Follow these recommendations, and you’ll be the person in your business network everybody looks forward to talking with. And whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, you’ll enjoy connecting with other business owners and decision-makers and helping each other succeed.

Start Growing Your Business Network Today

When is the best time to start networking? Right now! 

Forging solid relationships with people takes patience and effort, so you shouldn’t drag your feet. Carve out some time in your schedule and dive in.

The sooner you begin growing your business network, the sooner you and your company will enjoy the benefits.