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In this digitally-driven world of ours the power of personal interaction is more valuable than ever. While it is the norm to partake in on-line communities, to email clients, or video conference a meeting, face-to-face communication that fosters trust, and leads to solid, long-term business relationships is, without question, worth the time and effort.  Whether you own a micro or small to medium-sized business, or even if you are employed by a large organisation, and are seeking to grow your business here are 9 reasons why networking is a powerful tool.

Networking generates referrals and increases business

Referrals are the life’s blood of a business. People like to pass business to those they know and trust – but this will only happen if you have a network of contacts in the first place.

 A good network is consciously created, and the success of networking depends on hard work.

Effective and mutually beneficial relationships aren’t simply something you stumble across:  they are relationships that have to be worked on and cultivated over time.

Networking provides an increase in opportunities

As you actively develop your network of business contacts and build up positive relationships, you will find that you will naturally receive business referrals as people who trust you recommend your services.

In addition to referrals, you never know what sort of opportunities may start opening up. Simply being active in a business network environment, and providing as much value as you can to the group, may lead to opportunities that you could never have imagined.

Networking generates helpful connections

Business and personal success is all about making genuine connections. People like to help people who they know and trust; and people are much more likely to go out on a limb on behalf of people who have shown a willingness to first help them.

It is important to take the time to keep your special connections alive. Send follow-up emails, keep in touch with people to see what they have been up to, and help out where ever they need anything that you can provide.

Networks lead to valuable advice

A network of reliable contacts who can provide you with services or products you need, or who can be trusted to recommend others, is priceless in terms of time and money.

Beyond this, the priceless value of a business network is that it provides potential advisors and mentors who can, through their own experience, give you the foresight of their lessons learned from success or failure, and first-hand experimentation.

 Networks raise your profile

By expanding your contact sphere through networking you are correspondingly raising your public profile.

People know you exist and know what you do, and through your effort to remain top-of-mind you will more likely to be thought of when your products or services are required.

Networks provide a positive influence

Your business network is potentially a great business support group. Most people have an employee mentality, and it can be difficult to find people who have experienced similar problems to you.

Through connecting with other business owners and leaders, you have an opportunity to get advice from people who understand what you are going through.

With the support of others much more is possible and you will find yourself overcoming hurdles and achieving more than you could have imagined.

Networking increases confidence

Although periodic self-doubt is common among business owners, networking is a great way to combat this bugbear. By making it a priority to interact with other business owners, you will find that your confidence naturally begins to grow.

More than this, the more you network, the more practiced and confident you become at clearly communicating what you do and who it is that constitutes your target market or ideal referral.

Networking allows the benefit of helping others

Successful networking starts with giving, and one of the biggest advantages of networking in business is that it provides a platform for helping others.   

One way to generate action in your network is to be viewed as the person who connects other people. It is powerful to be the go-to person when people need help – and people automatically look to connectors when they need assistance.

Networking creates lasting friendships

By growing your contact sphere and spending the time getting to know, and help people, you will develop a network of people who you want to spend time with, and to share ideas with, and learn from.

One of the key benefits of business networking is that you will gain a number of really good friends – even though your initial purpose for networking was to grow your business.

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