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Why ‘old-fashioned’ networking should still matter to business owners

Social media is the ultimate networking tool. With just a few clicks, you can reach out to a person or business and start a conversation with them without any previous interaction. It’s quick, simple, and generally free of any awkwardness.
The same can’t always be said of ‘old-fashioned’ business networking, whereby you get dressed up, travel to a venue, and then wait nervously for someone to talk to you. However, company formation specialists 1st Formations believe there is still a place for ‘old-fashioned’ in-person networking. In this article, they explain why. Let’s get started.

New opportunities

With the danger of making it sound like a military operation, to succeed in ‘networking’ online, you need to hone in on a predetermined target, send them a message and see if they get back to you. As touched on in the intro, this is great for quickly approaching a person or business you want to work with; however, there’s typically no room for ‘by chance’ interactions.

When you attend a networking event in person, you might have an idea of the guest list but never really know who will turn up on the day. This sense of the unknown should make networking events an existing prospect for business owners.

Every next conversation you have could be the one that takes your business to the next level. Perhaps you’ll meet someone in a similar industry who can provide crucial insight, maybe you’ll come across a potential partner who can improve your offering, or a prospective lucrative client might make a beeline for you.

Social media is great if you have a purely focused approach, but it doesn’t facilitate ‘happy accidents’. For these, nothing beats an in-person networking event.

Straight to the chat

When you reach out to someone online in a business capacity, you’ll probably need to meet the person face-to-face eventually for the relationship to be solidified. Only then can you ascertain whether or not you’ll be able to work together.

With traditional networking, you can skip this ‘umming and ahing’ step. You can get an immediate feel for their personality and an insight into how your partnership would play out.

Of course, at such an event, everyone is eager to please, so they are essentially on their best behaviour. But still, your initial interactions will be more genuine than if they were online, where everything can be carefully tailored accordingly.

A new skill set

Networking is not popular or ‘cool’. It would appear that most people don’t enjoy it and are suspicious of people who appear like they do. Nonetheless, being able to walk into a room of people you don’t know, tell them about your business, and listen to what they say about theirs is a fantastic skill for any business owner to have.

Effective pitching takes time and effort, and networking events provide the perfect venue for this. By attending networking events regularly, you’ll become more comfortable with your business interactions. This will help you as you seek funding for your business, partner up with other businesses, and try to attract new people to come and work for you.

So, while you might not enjoy networking events, attending them will make you a better, more confident business owner.

Real conversations

Networking events are an opportunity to have genuine discussions with other people going through an experience similar to yours.

And we’re not talking about a series of short, stunted formal messages that the online world enables; we mean actual conversations where you can get your point across and listen to what someone else has to say. Social media has so many benefits, but it’s hardly a place for contemplative discussion.

Even if an individual is operating in an industry that appears entirely irrelevant to your own, such interactions can still benefit you and your business, and the person may become a good business contact to have on your phone. For example, they might have useful advice on dealing with stress, tips on handling tricky staff members, or know a good accountant who can help with a particular problem you’re having.

Reach a new audience

In the same way that not every business owner is a fan of networking, some entrepreneurs are cynical about social media and have refused to place their personal or business profiles on any of the platforms.

Networking events can provide the perfect opportunity to connect with this different type of business owner – individuals who would prefer to get out there and talk business with genuine people rather than avatars that only push carefully curated content.

Networking events attract a variety of business owners and industry experts. Some people will be active online, and some won’t; if you want to connect with the latter, you need to put yourself out there and attend events.

Focused connections

In business, diligence pays off. If you have been trying to connect with a particular person but are experiencing difficulty, a networking event can be an appropriate environment to reach out to them.

For example, you may want to pitch an idea to a fellow business owner. They haven’t replied to your LinkedIn message, but you’ve noticed they’re attending a certain event (perhaps they’re the keynote speaker or have simply mentioned their intention to participate on a social media account). This is the perfect opportunity to try to make contact with the individual.

Of course, you must respect someone’s boundaries. If they have already spoken to you, you should not use this as an opportunity to ambush them. However, if you suspect they have not seen your messages, by all means, see the networking event as your chance to initiate a conversation.

An antidote to isolation

Running a business can be a lonely experience: the long hours, lack of time for socialising, an inability to relax. It’s easy to see why so many business owners suffer from stress.

Even if you have a team behind you, finding other people facing similar challenges who would understand what you are going through can be a struggle. In this sense, networking events can help in two ways.

Firstly, they represent a good excuse to step away from your direct duties and do something new, but safe knowing that your overall goal is to benefit your business. It’s not like you’re taking a holiday (even though you probably deserve one). You’re just going to an event for a couple of hours.

Secondly, if you are heavily focused on your business (perhaps too focused?), a networking event will provide you with some valuable human interaction, breaking out of an isolating cycle that, in the long term, will harm you and your business.

So there you have it

That’s why ‘old-fashioned’ networking should still matter to business owners. We hope this article has inspired you to step away from your computer and attend a networking event. So, what are you waiting for? Find an event relevant to you and your business now. Thanks for reading.

The limited company structure is one of the most esteemed business structures in the world. It provides limited liability, tax efficiency, and prestige. If you want to set up your own limited company, visit 1st Formations, who can get your company registered quickly and simply. Take a look at their company formation packages now.

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