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What is Networking?

By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Funny how one little word can cause so many to cringe and others to be confused, and yet be such a useful tool for successful businesses.

Maybe you dread it because of a bad experience, or you’ve heard bad reports or maybe you think you are too shy for it; perhaps you don’t really know what networking is.

What is networking, really?

If you want to catch fish, you would not use long pieces of string individually; a single string won’t help you. However, when a number of strings are tied together as a net, they can catch many fish.

Essentially, business networking is the same; by interconnecting with other businesses, each one increases its ability to catch prospective clients.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as a ‘chain of interconnected persons’ which really describes most of your everyday life; business networking is simply recognising a normal process as a useful tool.

Why should I network?

The best networks are built on relationships between the people who own and run businesses.

The obvious impact of networking relationships is that people trust you and may use your service or product at some time. In this sense, networking is useful but has limited scope unless you spend a lot of time talking to other business owners.

Beyond this, networking can do much more for your business. Within a networking relationship, trust and knowledge is built between business people. By learning about other businesses, you are able to refer them to your clients who want something you can’t offer.

On a purely business level, the advantages to you of promoting another’s business are:

    You earn goodwill from that business, thus increasing your chance of serving them at some point

    Your customers will be happy to find what they are after easily and with a recommendation – this is called value adding and will build customer loyalty

    Providing more to customers increase the likelihood of them praising you to others

    Your networking partner(s) will also be promoting you at appropriate times

Whenever your business is recommended to another person, this is called word of mouth advertising and it is the most powerful form of advertising there is.

By networking, you are also increasing the range of people who can hear about your business. You may be able to tell three people a week about your business; a group of ten people may each tell one person a week about your business. That has already increased your exposure by about three times!

On a different level, by networking you are exposing yourself to new people and new ideas, and potentially gaining support and resources for your own business. Belonging to a good networking group can be a major factor in business growth.

How do I network?

Every time you speak to someone about your business you may well be networking. Networking is all about talking to people and spreading the word about your business.

You can limit your networking to casual conversations with friends, acquaintances and local business owners, or you can take a more formal approach.

There is a wide variety of networking options available:

    Join an online business community – either a general business site or one  related to your particular area

    Join a formal networking group – these groups meet regularly and limit membership to one of each business type

    Attend networking functions – such functions are run by various bodies, including formal and online networking communities, and often include a guest speaker. Some are members only and most incur a charge.

    Join a community group of business people working in the community – this is not a business network as such but is a great opportunity to contribute as well as meet people with common interests

    Arrange some cross promotions with complementary businesses – perhaps have some of each others’ business cards available for clients or share some ad space in an expensive magazine.

 Thus, networking is of great benefit to a business and can provide support as well; it can even be fun! And you don’t have to be an outgoing person for it to be effective; honesty and an interest in others are all you need to succeed.


Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.
























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© 2003 - 12, Tash Hughes