The Benefits of Networking for Business
Let’s face it, the idea of networking can put the fear into folk. It’s a word that makes many nervous or at the very least uncomfortable. But, particularly for women in business, networking is a great way to make connections with likeminded people, share ideas and experiences, solve problems and help others along the way.
In recent weeks, we’ve been to a Scottish EDGE breakfast event, impeccably hosted by one of our clients, The Ivy on the Square in Edinburgh, in honour of International Women’s Day. The theme of #PressForProgress sparked lively, constructive debate about issues women in business face and put actions in place to help shape the year ahead.
Next up was the first Southwood Social Hub gathering in Scotland. Created by entrepreneur Hayley Southwood as a way to share knowledge and a passion for business, the hub brings together a supportive online community.
Thirdly, the Business Women Scotland Live Event features a panel of industry speakers and offers advice on how to take the next step in business or your career. Each event was unique, but each had meeting likeminded women and learning at its heart. As tricky as it feels to pack more into your busy working weeks, we reckon it’s worth getting out and about and here are a few reasons why.
Meeting the right people can quite simply lead to new opportunities, whether that is a collaboration, business idea or different job, it’s the chance to explore new avenues. Networking also lets people get to know you and your business.
Networking is a great opportunity to get advice, whether that is from a bigger business which has already been through what you are going through, from an expert in a different field or simply a chat about work-life balance, you tend to find people are happy to share their experiences.
So, whether you need to find an office space, are looking for an accountant or need a reliable tradesperson, you’re likely to get an answer from someone who’s already been there and done it.
Little beats a personal recommendation. Reliable and relevant contacts are essential to any business, and by asking the right people, you can find out who is good at what. Tapping into other people’s networks is a great way of boosting your own.
Learn something new and share what you know
Networking helps you spot new possibilities, keep up with trends, introduce you to fresh ideas and share information. It’s a chance to find out about training, products or IT support, get recommendations, hear success stories as well as what didn’t work. It’s also a chance to share your own experiences - it’s a great feeling helping someone else solve a problem you’ve already found the solution to.
Raise your profile
Networking allows you to raise your own as well as your business profile. It’s a great way to build relationships, share ideas and connect with people you may never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
So, forget the fear factor, the benefits far outweigh any initial nerves.