Owning your own small business can feel very isolating; I know this from personal experience. It’s been 10 years since I started my first business, I still remember the feeling of euphoria that I was my own boss but also the pressure. I worried about how I was going to pull it all together so much at times it was overwhelming.
Looking back, I wish I’d made business networking a priority. Making connections not only allows your business to grow but has the potential to empower and support you through your business journey.
Let’s look at four benefits of business networking and one of its major flaws (with a solution of course)!
1. Build Connections
When you get involved in business networking you will be making connections with people that could potentially become clients. However, the most amazing thing about networking is that your business reach is not just limited to who you directly interact with. You have the opportunity to raise your business profile which could develop into other leads. You will be astounded how your business referrals can increase immensely when you start actively networking, you will be getting interest from people and places you didn’t even realize were connected to your networking experience. Don’t forget every person you link up with has family and friends outside of the network who could also be potential customers.
The well-known key to business success has always been that it’s not what you know but who you know. I strongly believe that business is about people and relationships. This is why, in my 1-on-1 coaching and Mastermind group coaching sessions I work with clients to support them in developing meaningful business relationships that lead to profit.
2. Business Development
When you meet like-minded, motivated entrepreneurs you open up a range of opportunities to develop your business further. It could be as simple as a referral but could also be a joint venture, a partnership, writing or speaking opportunity (to name but a few).
Your business could grow at a speed and direction you hadn’t previously anticipated and that’s what makes business networking so exciting.
It is worth taking the time to assess each individual situation and make sure that you are taking the right steps for you and your business. Those of you who are relatively new in business will feel a pressure to take on everything so it’s worth deciding your boundaries early on. Don’t get carried away with the excitement without thinking things through properly. It is important to keep your personal business vision at all times.
3. Sharing Expertise
When you join a business networking group you will instantly have access to a wealth of knowledge and experience from a whole range of industries. People who connect through groups like this generally want to create meaningful and yet productive relationships. They are happy to share information on areas that they have expertise in with the understanding that there will be people who can help them in return.
Of course you also get the opportunity to share your own expertise too.
I am so passionate about business networks because I have seen for myself how they can build solid foundations on which true friendships are formed. It is valuable to have friends who understand the complex and demanding needs of being self-employed with a family in tow. It is empowering to discuss, share, celebrate and commiserate with your fellow entrepreneurs.
What is wrong with standard business networking?
Well, there is nothing conceptually wrong with the business networking model but there is something missing from your average meeting. There is a growing entrepreneurial trend that doesn’t look set to stop anytime soon; the MumPreneurs. These are women like you who have each made a positive choice to be self-employed with the aim of creating the desired work/life balance.
If this is you, there is nothing stopping you from attending your local business networking meetings and I fully encourage building your networks but there is so much more to gain from engaging with those who understand you better.
When women empower each other there are no limits to their potential. In 2012 126 million women worldwide started their own ventures; despite this many business networking activities are still dominated by men.
There are many complex reasons why more and more mothers are taking a leap of faith and starting their own businesses. Most women take the first steps motivated by a combination of reasons:
- The high price of child care
- The need for a better work/life balance
- Taking opportunities where available – more business start-ups were registered after a recession
- Lack of paid employment available
- Following a life-long dream
- Passion for their product or service
Having had a busy admin and bookkeeping business pre-children, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the situation where I could be the master of my own destiny again. With a busy hubby and two young children, to get out and have me time (not mum time) and connect with other women who shared that same passion was empowering.
While working with MumPreneurs through my coaching biz it felt natural to create a business networking group exclusively for mums to connect with one another and support each other’s business journey. Not all mums can get out to the events on the dates or location they are scheduled. For some it may be isolation by distance others not being able to get someone to mind the children or their business lends them to be working at the time.
The vision is vast and evolving, but we are starting locally with Business & Bubbles, a MumPreneur Networking Event that will soon be going virtual! Stay tuned …
Are you connecting with other MumPreneurs to have the support, inspiration & accountability from a network of energetic and focussed women who get what it’s like building a business with family in tow?
Business Networking has the potential to transform your business and take it to the next level while simultaneously allowing you to make meaningful connections with potential lifelong friends. As a business coach I am blessed to have seen real transformations and I’d love to see yours!
Okay Mum, if you are ready to rev up your business – get networking, or book your Free Strategy Call to find out more on how Coaching 1on1 or my exclusive Mastermind can accelerate your MumPreneur journey.
To Your Success