Back in October of last year, we welcomed over 200 business owners to Carlisle Racecourse for our local business event, BITE 2018. We watched as these entrepreneurs rubbed shoulders, talked shop, and shared their biggest business challenges. The room buzzed with industry and excitement.

So, when anyone asks if networking can help their business, we always answer with an unequivocal “Yes!” because we’ve seen it first-hand.

Here are some of the benefits of networking we’ve observed over the years:

The five greatest benefits of business networking

1. Profile

Marketing and branding are fundamentally important for any small business. But sometimes, getting out there into the real world, shaking some hands, and chatting with other business owners can make all the difference. Raising your profile within your local business community can keep you front of mind should anyone in that network require your expertise.

You also have an opportunity to build a strong reputation as someone who knows their stuff, who’s supportive and reliable, and who’s willing to offer guidance and advice. Visibility is key to the success of any growing business.

2. Referrals

Perhaps the biggest benefit in this list, earning referrals is the reason why many business owners join networking groups in the first place. Even in the age of digital marketing and social media, word-of-mouth is here to stay.

And the best thing about these leads is that they’re often pre-qualified. That’s because you have the chance to discuss the ins and outs of the opportunity with the very people referring you.

3. Confidence

Launching a business requires many different skills, and chief among them is communication. Networking pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to meet and interact with different people. And in the long run, this can only benefit your confidence.

You’ll need to learn to sell yourself and your company every time you meet someone new – what some call the “elevator pitch”. This helps you get to the heart of your idea, and hones your proposition. And the more confident you feel about your business and your abilities, the more confident you’ll appear to prospective investors, employees, and stakeholders.

4. Connections

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And if you want your business to survive and thrive, you need to build a network of strong and reliable connections. If you need advice, or an introduction to a key decision maker, it pays to have that network at your fingertips.

Use your local networking events to connect with the most influential people in your business community. You never know when they might come in handy!

5. Advice

Running a business can be a lonely affair for the first few years. Particularly if you’re a sole trader. Getting up and out from behind your desk once in a while can make all the difference to your mental health, and the health of your business.

Instead of running into problems with no solution and nowhere to turn, you can grab a coffee and kick around ideas with like-minded people. And perhaps you’ll even overcome your latest business challenge with a little help from someone who’s been in your shoes before.

Try it for yourself

If you’re local to the North (or you fancy travelling), you can join us for BITE 2019 and try business networking for yourself. Join the waiting list today!