A business network is a forum that is accomplished to bring together like-minded people who come together with the purpose of growing their connections and creating a more influential and meaningful business acquaintance. The process thus of enhancing the business network is called Business Networking. It is seen as a very effective way to reach out to professionals and industry leaders and build meaningful business relationships with them.
Business Networking is a way of cultivating professional connections with other business professionals, prospective customers, or existing customers. Business Professionals engage in business networking with a purpose or goal to achieve better business connections, validated work referrals, and gain industry insights. What most professionals seek out in Business Networking is –
- Showcasing industry expertise to gain contacts and be recognized as an expert and gain clientele.
- Increase the awareness about products, and services your company is offering and thus widen the reach of your portfolio amongst a filtered and relevant set of people.
- Building future customer funnel and long-term connections that would result in goodwill and business opportunities.
Business Networking can happen over –
- Professional business networking forums
- Advanced training and workshops
- Social Media communities
The purpose of attending a business networking group is to make some advancement over your current status and thus you should define your goals.
- What are your expectations of the Business Networking forum?
- The goal primarily should be tapping networks that could be your prospective clients or target markets.
- Specific domain or industry for a niche promotion of your offerings.
- Have a specific monetary figure for business or specific clientele that you would want to achieve from this medium
- Identifying possible associations and alternate business ideas and ventures that are interesting business propositions.
- Business or expert engagements that could be difficult to be achieved outside of the network
- Cultivating niche market insights, prospects, and expert opinions
- Looking for funding through community-based business networks that promote member businesses
- Getting access to exhibitions and trade fairs that are community-based and purely business-centric
- Opening up business opportunities geographically
- Targeting to access industry VIPs
Your business networking goal could be any of these, but largely accommodating in the above categories.
Once you decide your goal you have to identify relevant networking organisations that you could join and become a member of. Certain Business Networking organisations are purely on an invitation basis and engage in a criterion for offering membership. You have to check if you are eligible for the criteria set.
Business should not be your primary outlook, but to build relationships, therefore you need to be a contributing member. Not everything is business and therefore you have to bring the human touch to your business outlook and reach out to members and present your authentic self.
Just attending a business networking meeting is not all that is-
- You have to follow up on the acquaintances you made during the business networking sessions.
- Maintain email, phone or WhatsApp communication with the contacts and keep them subtly posted on your business progress
- Offer value by giving business advice, sharing resources, or guiding other members where required.
- Taking roles that would highlight you as a member and increase your visibility.
After all, Networking only works, if you work.
Article by: Ms. Neeta Chavan, Executive Director, BNI Navi MumbaiTo get more updates, Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also join our Telegram Channel