Business networking is more than just a tactic that some people use to draw in more clientele. For most small business owners, proper networking skills are necessary for their continued existence and success.Networking takes many forms. Whether a business owner is cold-calling clients on the phone, or meeting other business owners in the area for breakfast or lunch, the networking never stops. Networking leads to referral business, and referral business leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Many business owners choose to become part of organizations such as their local Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is an excellent way for business owners to participate in business advocacy and lobbying efforts, and provides a way for business owners to band together for their own protection. Chambers of Commerce around the world hold both formal meetings and informal “meet-and-greets” during which business owners can discuss the current business climate in their given area, and formulate ways to overcome obstacles such as local governmental regulations and workforce problems.
Regardless of the type of networking activities that a business owner conducts, they are still responsible for presenting themselves in a way that is both professional and forceful. Without a forceful but polite demeanor, business owners may fall prey to the most difficult of obstacles, word of mouth and the rumor mill. If a business owner doesn’t conduct themselves with the utmost dignity, they may be labeled as unstable, and other business owners may elect to exclude them from future meetings and planning sessions. This leads to a rapid breakdown in communication, and a corresponding drop in sales. A business owner that is well-versed in networking skills can be nearly assured a profitable business climate and a steady stream of both new customers and repeat business. While new customers are essential to grow any business, repeat customers are equally important, as they keep the business going even during lean economic times.
Networking skills tend to be a mixture of both learned behavior and natural charisma. A business owner that can harness both aspects of the networking trade can maintain an intricate web of contacts and vendors. With that network in place, new business can always be found and the business owner can always ensure that they are being presented with the best options available to guarantee the success of their endeavors.