I have written on networking before but not in this light. Here, we are looking at the subject in the light of using it to grow a business without money.
When entrepreneurs desire to grow a business, the first thing that comes to mind is always whether they have enough money to create the growth they require. But you can now grow your business without having to spend so much money. Networking makes that possible.
Networking is a huge blessing for life and business. Through it, many people have been able to find fortune. As a matter of fact, most successful entrepreneurs have attributed their enterprise success to it. Let’s take a look at the various ways you can use take advantage of networking to grow a business.
1. Support group
Networking avails you the opportunity to find a support group you can relate with. Imagine being able to share the challenges you are having in your business with a group of businesspeople who will be happy to share ideas on how to handle the challenges. So when next you find a networking opportunity, encourage the participants who have business interests to start a support group with you. A monthly meeting won’t do any harm.
2. Insider Information
You want to get insider information about a deal or opportunity? It can happen through networking. The more you network, the more you meet people. The more you meet people, the more you hear things. Expertly following up on the things you hear can land you a deal you will forever be grateful for. Just one insider information can change the fortunes of a business in ways that additional capital may not do.
You want to enjoy resources you did not spend money on? Networking can make that happen. I live and do business in Lagos. Whenever I fly to Abuja, I do not take taxis or pay for rental cars. There is always a standby car to use. Someone I networked has asked me to use her car any time I am in the city. She gets very offended whenever I am in Abuja and I’m not using the car. There are many other resources I enjoy without spending money because I network.
4. More revenue
Do you want to increase your business revenue? Revenue is very important in the quest to grow a business. As a matter of fact, if revenue grows, it affects everything about the business. The more you network, the more you will sell because the people in your network will buy from you. This is the underlying principle around network marketing. So don’t complain of low revenue if you are not networking.
Access to opportunities to grow a business abound when we network. The opportunities you can get from networking are very many. Opportunities to sell. Opportunities to learn about and acquire new technology. Opportunities to buy things at a very cheap or giveaway price. Opportunities to expand your business. Opportunities to partner for business expansion. Opportunities to learn new skills. Opportunities to business grants. Just name it!
6. Access to free skill
All entrepreneurs know that it is very important to keep costs down. If the need for a job function comes up in your business and it looks like the need is there for the long haul, you can employ someone to handle the function. But what if the need is temporary? Someone in your network can handle it for you. I have a friend who handles these kinds of stuff for me. He is very talented in IT and business support technology. When I have a need, which is occasional, I contact him. Every time I go to him, he does not only handle the hitch for me, he also teach me how to handle it on my own in case the need arises again. You can’t imagine what I have learnt because of him.
7. Free advice
Do you know how much it cost to talk to a consultant for 1 hour? But imagine that consultant is your friend. There are many people out there who know so much without even knowing it! As you network, you will begin to notice certain persons who are very knowledgeable in certain areas of your interest. As you interact more and become friends with them, it becomes easier to have conversations that contain loads of free advice. And you cannot downplay on advice. It is written somewhere in the Bible that “in the midst of many counsellors, there is safety”.
8. New skills
As I said in #6 above, I have learnt so much because of my interaction with a friend who is very skillful in IT and business support technology. Networking avails you the opportunity to learn new things. You really do not have learn new skills the way I have from my friend. The person in your network may not be as patient as my friend. Watching from a safe distance and asking lots of intelligent questions can make all the difference.
9. Access to money
I always try to encourage people to not make money their number 1 objective for networking. This is because of how sensitive the subject of money can be. Many people have been cheated or robbed of their money in the past. So, avoid trying to get the next person to be involve with you financially unless they show some interest. And don’t get too aggressive.
Despite all that, a healthy networking relationship can give you access to funds to expand your business.
What is your experience?
What have you done in the past to grow a business? How was your experience? How has networking been of benefit to you in the past? Leave your comment in the comment section below.