Ever been to a networking event and been bored to death? The small talk, the exchange of business cards, the stuffy air between strangers trying to make connections. I once dreaded these events. There’s nothing worse than trying to meet people when you don’t know why you need to meet them in the first place!
It doesn’t have to be that way. Networking can be something far greater and more impactful than just passing around cards and talking about the weather. Networking is important for growing a business, yes, but it’s important to know people if you want to make an impact on your community and even the world.
Think back to when you were younger and in college. You were unsure of what you wanted to do, where you wanted to go and how you would get there, right? It’s easy to get overwhelmed in a sea of people your own age with the same ideas for the future. Being unsure is fine. It probably would have been helpful to have someone from your chosen industry that was involved in the community and could help you navigate the road to landing your dream career. Helping set the stage for the next generation is fulfilling and good for business. Young, fresh ideas from students and graduates is what makes the future of every industry!
Any growth in the community is growth for your business as well. Greater involvement shows that you are a more conscientious business in the eyes of the public. Thus, creating brand loyalty. Turning a profit is great, but what are you really doing for your community? Are you volunteering your time, helping to train students new to the business world, or increasing your sustainability efforts? It makes a difference. Your skills and resources may be invaluable to someone one day and networking will help you be remembered.
Trust is important in business. Establishing strength in relationships is critical to the success of your business and networking can help you develop that trust and strengthen those relationships with those that you work with. You may not feel like you know anyone that is helping your cause, but if you can help someone else succeed, you become a valuable contact. You never know, you may need to use some of those contacts one day.
So, we can’t stress enough that those events and meetings aren’t useless. They are a priceless tool you can use to help develop yourself and your business. So get out there, meet some new people, go to the conventions and make friends! Throw a social function. Host an internship and share your wisdom. It’s worth it.