If you’ve ever been to an event where you met that one intriguing person who made a significant positive impact on your business, then you know how crucial networking is for business owners. You can gain different perspectives from fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts and even clients.. Networking with the right people can open new doors for you by facilitating business deals and it can even lead you to potential investors. But it is only through the right techniques that you can really benefit from networking. So as a networking novice, how do you go about it? And which events should you attend? Our CEO, Ambareen Musa shares key insights from her networking experience.
As a business owner, why is it important to network and expand your contact list?
“One of the ways to grow your business is through the relationships you build. Through networking, you can build your brand and get people to know about your company. This can bring funding, talent and even clients. It is an informal environment where you get to meet interesting, likeminded people and potential clients. Networking events offer a setting where people have the time to listen to you and discuss important business related matters away from the work mind-set. You would be surprised how people are willing to help and it is a matter of asking.”
Give us an example of a situation in which a contact you met through networking helped you significantly.
“My networking has been extremely helpful – it led me to meet all of my angel investors. Angel investment can be acquired purely from networking as angel investors are more likely to invest in business founders who were referred to them or they had the chance to meet in person in an informal setting.”
How do you go about networking? Is it through events, conferences or social circles? What are the unlikeliest places that you met people who helped you with your business?
“I generally expand my network by going to events and tapping into social media groups and alumni networks as examples. While networking is extremely useful, it can also be time consuming. Turning up to every event can potentially be unproductive as your time is precious. One way to choose the events is to look up the speakers, attendees and see if there are people who are either in your field or an industry you are after. This can help you prepare who you will meet and what you would like to discuss. And don’t forget to take a few of your business cards with you!”