In business, who you know is just as important as your overall business strategy. Cultivating relationships with other business can have tremendous positive effects on not only your bottom line, but also your brand and reputation.
They can refer new clients to you.
Taking the time to network with other businesses will make it much more likely for them to recommend you to one of their clients. The chances are high for that client to close with you after being recommended by someone they trust and with whom have already done business.
This is especially true from networking within your own, or a complementary field. For example, let's say you own a roofing company. Building a relationship with a home owner's insurance company might get you a few more word-of-mouth recommendations when they're assessing roof damage to their clients! You may even be recommended by another roofing company you've added to your network if you provide a service they do not.
Their employees can become potential clients.
Another way your business may drum up new clients as a result of networking is from the employees of that business. Employees of other businesses are regular 'ole people first. You never know who may need a service that you provide. By cultivating a business relationship with others, you've gained a pass to the front of the line when they're considering starting a project in your field. The trust you've built with them makes it a no-brainer for them to hire you and your team.
Know your competitors.
Getting to know the people you're competing against gives you vital insight into how they run their business. While you shouldn't expect they'll divulge trade secrets, hearing their thoughts on similar successes and struggles in business helps you understand their philosophies on business so you can easily highlight your differences to potential clients. If their company is more successful than yours at the moment, all the better. Having regular conversations with competitors keep the creative juices flowing and just might spark that extra innovation you may have needed to take your business to the next level.
Provide advice and insight.
The great thing about having a friendship with other businesses is having someone who understands what you're going through while running a business. No matter if your business has been around for awhile, or is a startup just taking off, other business owners likely have experience in situations that stump you or situations you haven't yet had to face. They may offer a new perspective you haven't previously considered on certain struggles, helping you to overcome them quicker than you may have on your own.
Build up your reputation.
Reputation is the biggest piece of currency your business has. Attending industry networking events allows you to control how your business and its brand are seen among other industry professionals.
Getting your name and face out there doesn't hurt either. Networking gives you the ability to build up your own personal reputation as a leader in your industry, helping the reputation of your business in the process.
It's clear networking with other businesses can be beneficial for your company, both in the short and long term. Social media networking on popular websites like LinkedIn is one of the quickest and well known ways to network, but don't let this be your only strategy. Don't forget to also attend industry conferences and introduce yourself to like minded business owners. Other businesses know the importance of networking, so it's time you get out there and meet them!
What's your favorite networking conference? Share in the comments below!