Small Business Networking: What Is It and Why Should You Do It

Did you know that 85% of job positions are filled through networking? It is no mystery that connecting with other people in the field can help professionals and small businesses to thrive. Networking comes in many forms, but done right, it can be very enjoyable and productive. 

Small business networking helps to spread shared knowledge through an industry, make valuable business connections, and develop opportunities for companies in the community. Read on to learn about how small business networking opportunities can be beneficial for your business!


The Sharing of Knowledge

Being in the same room as other small business owners is a great chance to share insights. Owners may share struggles and successes they have had in their company, which you can apply to yours. 

Though people at these networking events may not be from the same industry, they are often from a shared community. Certain advertising and promotion strategies can work in your local area. For example, if a business at a networking event had great success at the town's craft fair, they can share this tip for you to take advantage of. 

Another way to gain knowledge is by asking for feedback on your business ideas. Whether it is a new advertising campaign or an upcoming product line you will sell, fellow entrepreneurs will be happy to provide advice. 


Connections and Opportunities

One of the best parts of small business marketing is the connections you can make! Other like-minded people in the entrepreneurial mindset can be great people to add to your social circle. Beyond simply helping to increase your sales, surrounding yourself with successful people who are building their business will inspire you to do the same!

The opportunities are endless once you dive into the world of networking in your local business community. Are you a bracelet maker looking for a place to hold your products? Find a store you can collaborate with!

Are you a new brewery looking for a wave of customers to come your way? Team up with a local restaurant and do a few events together, getting their customers introduced to your product. Forging positive relationships with other businesses can be symbiotic to both parties.


Types of Business Networking

Three main types of business networking can help you in building business relationships. These include Business Seminars, Networking Groups, and Professional Associations

Are you from the Allen, Texas area and looking for a resource to begin engaging with your local business community? Check out the Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce for resources about how to build your brand


Business Seminars

These can be great opportunities to get a lot of like-minded business professionals in the same room. They often include keynote speakers and leadership development sessions throughout the day to build your skills. In between, some meals and receptions allow you to network with other small business owners. 

A tendency when beginning networking can be to share everything about yourself. Nerves take over, and you may be inclined to stick to a script. 

However, your best bet is to listen to what your conversation partner has to say. Consider how you can be of service TO THEM, and not the other way around. Approaching your conversations this way will make you come off as genuine and sincere. 


Networking Groups

These are organizations that you may join to meet with a certain group of people regularly. There can be general business networking groups that bring everyone together, or more niche options like Accounting, Writing, or Photography networking. 

LinkedIn is a great starting point to find some of these groups. While some are in person, many are currently conducted remotely due to COVID.

Though it can be difficult to connect this way, we recommend following up with a few people after the meetings for a one-on-one conversation. This allows you to foster great relationships, just like you would during in-person networking events. 


Professional Associations

These associations are great opportunities to get people from the same industry together. Members often have a similar background, but can help one another immensely in providing new opportunities or business. 

Examples of these associations are the American Management Association and the American Marketing Association. The Entrepreneurs' Organization can be a great resource for small business owners who would like to connect with other like-minded people. 


Tips of How To Succeed

The benefits of networking are immense- so how do we get started? Sign up for an event near you for small business networking! Getting going is the hardest part, so once you step foot in that first event, you are off to a great start.

Starting a conversation can be awkward, so it is helpful to have a few icebreakers prepared. Complimenting someone on their clothing can be an easy way to strike up a conversation.

Also, pay attention to people's name tags! They may list their location, company, or industry, which can give you a great Segway to begin an interesting conversation. 

Finally, following up is the key to having networking success. After a great conversation, be sure to get the person's business card and connect with them on LinkedIn. Try to jot down a few facts about them right after you meet so that you can connect with them meaningfully. 


We Wish You Successful Small Business Networking!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the benefits of small business networking, and how you can jump in! Building business relationships is a great way to build a foundation in your own company, and empower local entrepreneurs around you. 

The Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce would love to connect with you and give you tips about how to develop your small business. Check out their blog for more tips on how to be a pro at small business networking!

We wish you and your loved ones a great start to 2022.