Do you own a small business and want to expand your network? Or are you an active professional looking for growth in your career?
Hosting or attending networking events is your opportunity to achieve the growth you’re looking for. These events are where industry movers and like-minded people meet, interact, and get to know other people who can help them and they can help in return.
Studies show that networking is critical to 78% of business startups. Here’s why:
It’s not easy to start and build a successful business—it takes time and a whole lot of drive. When bumps happen along the way, it’s natural to feel a little demotivated.
When you interact with people who share similar goals, you also build a network of associates where you can draw energy to push you on. By motivating each other, you’re also more likely to move forward as a group.
Networking events are an excellent source of fresh ideas and new perspectives. Chances are, you’ll meet someone who has already been where you are. They can provide feedback so you can see things from a different perspective and hopefully spark new ideas.
Don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re struggling with a decision or experiencing a challenge and want to gain new insights, ask industry experts what they think. Exchanging ideas is a great way to share knowledge and build a relationship.
When you attend networking events, you also give your business a chance to meet individuals and organizations that could lead to something more: partnerships, sponsorships, collaborations, new business ventures, finding new suppliers, and clients.
If you’re a professional, active networking is a great way to expand your contacts. They’ll keep you in mind when job opportunities arise. You’ll also increase your chances of getting a referral or being introduced to relevant people.
Remember: not all jobs get advertised. Staying active in your network is a way to access opportunities that wouldn’t have been available otherwise.
On the flip side, not all talented professionals sift through job advertisements to look for work. A lot of them (and their equally talented friends and colleagues) belong to a network which you will have access to by hosting such events.
So if you’re struggling to fill a vacant spot because you need someone with a particular skillset, hosting a corporate networking event might just be what your business needs!
Be it in personal struggles or business difficulties, we tend to be our own worst critics. In the process of criticizing ourselves, we also lose self-confidence.
Push yourself to talk to people you don’t know to help renew (or build) your confidence and develop social skills. Both of these are important attributes you need as a business owner because growth depends a lot on interaction with business partners, clients, suppliers, investors, and employees.
Being visible is essential in business and career-building. By establishing more connections through networking events like product launches or other types of corporate events, you also get more eyes on your business.
Create value by remembering names, offering your expertise, and contributing what you know. This will help build your reputation—and you want to be known as a reliable, knowledgeable, and supportive member of your network!
If you want to know how your business is performing against others in the same industry, attend networking events.
It’s an opportunity to hear what people are saying about your business. Their feedback will give you an indication of your strengths and your areas for improvement.
Attending a networking event is also your chance to refine your message and convey what your business stands for.
While networking events are for finding and nurturing professional relationships, sometimes, it’s also where you develop long-lasting friendships.
Because whether personal or professional, all relationships begin with a genuine human connection. And when we get lucky, these professional relationships could develop into some of the strongest, long-lasting friendships there are.
Remember to be authentic when networking. Try to identify a commonality with the people you meet. This is the best way to build any kind of relationship.
There are many types of networking events you can attend: exhibits, trade shows, conferences, product launches, industry award ceremonies, etc. These are all exciting ways to meet new contacts.
However, networking doesn’t come naturally to all people. For some, the thought of talking to a stranger at an event is dreadful!
If you’re one of them, a good rule of thumb is to prepare what you want to talk about in advance. It doesn’t always have to be about your business or career—it could be about the event itself or any light topic that would get the conversation flowing.
Also, remember to bring your business card with you whenever you attend such events. You’ll never know who will ask for it!
At the end of the day, networking events are about building relationships and taking action. But if you want to promote your business or product and can’t find the right platform to do so, you can always host your own event.
And you can count on The Loft on King for help. The Loft is a unique event space in downtown Toronto that you can use for any type of corporate, product launch, or private event that will help take your business to the next level.