Written by: Amrita Bhalla, Managing Director, A.B Consulting and Futurpreneur Mentor based in Toronto

“Your network is your net worth” has typically been understood to mean: “Build relationships with professionals and get them to refer you a job.” For the world of entrepreneurs, networking can be a goldmine in finding a mentor, new customers, a supplier or a business partner. Best of all, networking does not have to cost a fortune! Sure once upon a time networking was thought of as a stuffy lunch for people in suits but the digital age has truly transformed the networking space. The best part is, your network is a resource with potentially unlimited growth possibilities which include:

#1 Mentorship

A mentor that knows you and your company’s goals is a great asset to have in your network. A mentor can share tips to make sure you avoid any mishaps you may have otherwise encountered. Even if you encounter a problematic situation, they can help give you advice and guide you through those challenges. Mentors are especially helpful with advice since they have already faced similar problems when opening their own business.

#2 Expanding your customer/supplier base

When starting a company or looking for clients, there is a possibility that someone in your network is looking for your product or could direct you to potential customers. Finding consumers and suppliers in your network makes your tasks in finding them easier, and gives you the peace of mind that they are a trusted and reliable source.

#3 Building Strategic Partnerships

With a growing business, partnering with a similar business assists in expanding your outreach to help expedite your company’s growth. Knowing someone in your network that could support or sponsor your business on their company page can help increase brand recognition and growth. However, it’s always a good idea to start your own social media platform and dedicate time to building your reach.

Now, how do you go on to exploring and growing your network?

There are popular options like signing up and attending networking events, summits, or conferences, as well as networking with your past peers or colleagues. You can set up a coffee meeting or join a industry related Meetups (or even create one). However, networking doesn’t always have to involve face-to-face meetings. It could also entail a social media platform and how many viewers you are able to reach with your posts (LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram). Your social media presence widens your reach to potential new customers.

Networking is never a waste of time, it is a critical part of doing business. The more you understand your industry and the external environment it operates in, the better you will be at analyzing problems and overcoming challenges. Think about creative outreach, perhaps the alumni program from your college or university.

Matteo and Sarah Tino, owners of fitness studio, Revkor Junction and Futurpreneur’s have found networking an invaluable tool in growing their business. They kindly agreed to share their experience with the Futurpreneur community, commenting: “Networking has been an essential component of starting and growing our business. Being new entrepreneurs, we relied heavily on our existing friends and family to help put us in touch with the right advisers and support network. Simply asking ‘do you know anyone who might be able to provide some advice?’ resulted in meeting strong referrers of new clients, a TV segment and coverage by mainstream and alternative blogs (like blogTO). We have also leveraged our network to get advice in other important areas where we have no expertise, such as retail sales and merchandising. Most importantly, building new connections has increased our exposure within the community, creating positive associations and a team of advocates ready to send new members our way.”

So don’t just depend on solely yourself and those already in your immediate circle to help you and your business. Put yourself out there and make new connections. You never know what it could lead to!

About A.B Consulting:
A.B Consulting is leading HR consulting company bringing practical and commercial approach to HR in helping organizations improve performance, employee engagement and profitability. Contact our company today for your HR needs.

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