Networking is a critical facet to expanding your career. This is particularly true if your idea of achieving financial success is becoming an entrepreneur. The intricacies of professional networking weave together create a science, an art, and a language all on its own. In fact, many people – including those who are running their own businesses as Happy Tax franchisees – have built their careers by building their professional networks.
Professional networking is not easy, and in many ways, it’s profession all to itself. It’s a very time-consuming activity, and the connections made through new introductions need to be constantly maintained. Professional networking can demand the time equivalent of a full-time job, but it’s essential to meeting and interacting with investors as well as building up a large customer base. As a result, many professionals see building their network as the best way to build their careers.
How and Why Professionals Network
Networking is one of those buzzwords we hear all of the time, but what exactly is it, and why is it so important? Professional networking is defined by the expansion of expertise and resources through facilitating relationships with other professionals. In other words, it’s about getting to know people so that you can discover and meet each others’ needs by sharing knowledge and resources. Networking can be as simple as getting to know new people and letting them get to know you through casual conversation. This could take place anywhere from the local watering hole to formal hosted events.
While many people believe that the benefits of networking are largely reserved for the extroverts of the world, professional networking is a skill that can be developed over time. As a helpful first step in the networking process, consider talking to people with whom you already have strong connections. Ask them to refer you to other professionals, who may be able to help expand your business or introduce you to any other people who may be interested in making a deal. Potential contacts, clients, investors, and even new friends, all can be identified and brought into your network through this simple approach.
For business professionals just starting out, the best way to begin the networking process is to reinforce and solidify already existing relationships with family and friends. Reinforcing and utilizing those relationships can open up new opportunities to meet new people through already existing connections. And in a nutshell, this is really all professional networking really is!
The Benefits of Professional Networking
Happy Tax offers mentorship and support to all of its franchisees, which forms a key basis for launching a strong business. But at the end of the day, our franchisees operate their own businesses, and they all benefit enormously from observing and interacting with their peers in a networking environment. This is particularly true for franchisees who are just starting out in the business world, as often networking creates opportunities to learn a great deal from our colleagues who have more experience.
There are many benefits to taking professional networking seriously as an entrepreneur. Our peers may offer constructive critiques of our networking approaches and bring to light other angles that may be more effective. Furthermore, professional networking may give you the opportunity to consult with other people who are more knowledgeable within your industry. This can be particularly valuable when you encounter situations you are unfamiliar with or that catch you by surprise.
The benefits of being a good networker compound on themselves. That’s because your professional connections may know someone that could further provide you with assistance even if they can’t do so themselves. As a result, the connections you’ve made with other professionals may help to propel you forward by creating new connections.
Networking - a Worthwhile Effort
Although networking is greatly time-consuming, it is also highly beneficial. Putting time into building your professional network allows you to become more connected to more opportunities. While networking, you can expect to meet investors and other respected professionals in your discipline, as well as professionals in other fields that may benefit you or your company indirectly. And even meeting individuals from outside of your field may help you get access to guidance or assistance when unexpected problems arise. After all, every business needs services like legal advice, marketing strategies, financial consultation, and so on. Sometimes, the best way to get these services is to identify them within your own network of friends and colleagues.
Professional networking also offers up the opportunity to bounce your ideas off of potential clients and influential members of the community. These individuals may offer different avenues of thought or collaborate with you on potentials ideas for your company that had never before crossed your mind. Networking may also present the opportunity for you to galvanize ideas for your business, as you would be offered the chance to verbalize some of your ideas to your peers and take respectful criticism. Talking through your ideas with your peers can be very advantageous, as you would most likely need to refine and talk through those ideas anyway before pitching them to your customer base.
When you go out and network by attending events, regardless of your field or practice, you may find yourself in a room full of potential resources. This is a great opportunity to brainstorm with like-minded individuals and connect with people who may be able to help you in your career. At the very least, you may meet people who can offer advice or criticism that may assist in repositioning you and your company in the right direction.
Networking is even more important for individuals just starting their career in entrepreneurship. This is because networking affords these individuals the opportunity to learn from more experienced, successful entrepreneurs and build valuable contacts. Networking also offers opportunities to interact with potential clients. Professional networking is an advantageous tool when utilized effectively. It can open doors, allow for peer review, and positively benefit the business owner financially as it expands their client base.
Altogether, networking is essential for a customer-based business to further achieve overall financial success. Building networking into your career will give you a competitive edge that may only be achieved by meeting new people and taking advantage of what those individuals have to offer through intellect and experience.