We want to shine some light on a potentially underrated growth opportunity that, if harnessed, could catapult your small business to the next level. Often, networking is a growth strategy that fills our social cup and can be fun. This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be in your small business toolbox. The fun can pay off with new contacts, clients, and friendships. So why not start networking today? Need help figuring out how to start or where to find your people? Read on for our suggestions!
Firstly, networking can and should be beneficial to everyone involved. Let’s remember that the give-and-take balance is crucial. Having a network and being part of someone else’s is powerful. Powers you want to harness include strengthening your support system, being visible, building a reputation, and making an impact. Networking increases your opportunities to build your clientele and grow, boosts your confidence, and gives you access to more jobs via word of mouth, collaboration opportunities, and referrals. You can reap the benefits of exchanging ideas within your network. Social media is one of many ways to network…
The power of local networks
Networking is simple, although it can be nerve-wracking. Groups of people already meet up in various capacities within your city. If you aren’t aware of them, you might think they’ll be challenging to find. The key is to look around and see who is out there and where they’re showing up. Networking within a business capacity is one thing, but your people are also pursuing their personal interests and hobbies.
For example, Laura is the branding designer and strategist half of Bea + Elle Designs. You can find her at Utah Lettering Club once a month, not because she’s a spectacular hand lettering artist but because she loves the creativity and conversations of the individuals Lettering Club attracts. Often Laura leaves with a blank page because the discussion has been enthralling. However, she always leaves inspired and refreshed despite the blank page in her sketchbook. These creatives mingle with other creatives and business owners, which makes this extracurricular activity a networking opportunity.
The benefit of local networking differs from worldwide networking and is fulfilling differently. Meeting up with or calling someone within your timezone has perks worth pursuing. These social interactions are much more personal than what you’ll find in an oversaturated, competitive Facebook group.
Powerful places for small businesses to network
Below are some networking ideas we’ve developed to inspire you in your business growth goals. Let us know in the comments any you’ve tried or catch your eye.
Business Network International (BNI)
Local Chamber of Commerce
Social Media: Alignable, LinkedIn, Facebook
Community Education classes
Local interest groups, ie. gaming, crafts, pickleball, chess, volleyball, hand lettering
Rising Tide Society
Your local Library
Conferences: Check out Pinners and Alt Summit
Co-Working spaces: Check out Kiln
Online forums, ie. Reddit
Sponsor a local sports team
Sponsor a market, ie. Craft Lake City, or your local farmer’s market
Volunteer at local projects
Support local businesses
Show up to local events
Collaborate with complimentary brands
Overall, networking is a critical component of growing a small business. Whether you attend or sponsor events, utilize social media, or join online forums, making connections and building relationships with others in your industry can help you expand your reach, access valuable resources, and find new growth opportunities. Community is critical, whether online or in person.
Get out there and get to know some people!