Updated: Oct 18, 2021
In the words of the poet John Donne, ‘No Man is an Island’, and never has a truer word been spoken. We all need to be part of a community to thrive and survive and one way you can achieve this is through good networking.
What do we mean by ‘networking’?
Well, networking is a term that is bandied around a lot, and for many it has a bit of a cheesy reputation, often associated with negative undertones like ‘buttering people up’ or ‘ego-stroking’.
But it’s so much more than that, and done properly, can deliver huge benefits.
Good networking is about building long-term relationships with people who understand you and who are willing to help and support you – professionally as well as personally. The best networks are built on mutual trust and respect. They can be the difference between an average career and a phenomenal one, a mediocre business or a top-performing one, a happy, fulfilled life or a wretched one. So, let’s start networking!
So, what can networking give you?
There are many benefits to good networking, here are just some:
Develop long-lasting relationships
Being part of a community or network of like-minded people is not only a great way to develop some of the best professional connections, but also some of the strongest personal ones too. What may start as a professional meeting of minds, may well turn into one of the best friendships you’ve ever had because you have the same interests, concerns, and values. Keeping in regular touch with your network serves only to reinforce and strengthen those relationships.
Be inspired and gain more knowledge!
Your network can be a fantastic source of inspiration. By sharing experiences – good and bad- you can gain valuable insight into other peoples’ successes and failures.
In the words of Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and inspirational speaker: “It’s important to learn from your mistakes, but it is BETTER to learn from other people’s mistakes, and it is BEST to learn from other people’s successes. It accelerates your own success”.
Networking gives you new perspectives, a set of fresh eyes from which you can view your own world. It may deliver you some new ideas on how to grow your business or develop your career, perhaps suggest a completely new career direction, or even change your life…
Get an answer to every question and see how a problem shared, is a problem halved!
The whole point of being part of a network is being able to go to them when you need help, advice, or support. So, if you are facing a challenge, which you don’t know how to overcome, or feel overwhelmed with something in your life – personal or professional – ask your network. Why sit on a problem, when you are potentially surrounded by people who can resolve it in an instant?
People love to share their expertise and knowledge. I believe it was St. Francis who said: “For it is in giving that we receive”. Whatever your religious beliefs, these are wise words. He understood that by giving others help and support, we get so much back – our self-esteem grows, our confidence is boosted, we feel valued, respected, and loved.
Helping others is a wonderful thing and it’s the best part of being part of a great network.
Find a job you love
Networking can open doors you’ve never dreamed of. That may range from just some sound career advice to even a new job opportunity – someone in your network might just be hiring or perhaps knows someone who is looking to hire. Being part of their network, might give you first dibs, perhaps an introduction, or even a referral. You just never know.
Reassess your qualifications
When you network with other people in the same profession as you, you get a chance to benchmark your career achievements against theirs. You may think you’ve reached the top of your game, but when you start to compare, you may discover that you are better than you thought and that your aspirations and ambitions need to be turned up a notch or two. Seeing what others have achieved can sometimes be quite enlightening and inspirational.
Grow your business
Being part of a network is a great way to raise your company’s profile and develop your business know-how.
It gives you a unique and trusted opportunity to find out more about what’s going on in your industry and may even provide ideas for future expansion or suggestions on how to deliver a better service to your customers. Perhaps even some ideas on how to work more efficiently or agilely? You may even meet some new suppliers that would enable you to keep your costs down and make your business more profitable.
But it is also an opportunity to learn from your peers. Meeting up with others working in the same field gives you the opportunity to learn from each other’s mistakes and benefit from their experience and knowledge.
And of course, let’s not forget, it can put you in front of a whole new source of potential customers. Anyone looking for a copywriter, designer, landscape gardener or dog-walker?
Connect with other businesses
Running your own business can sometimes be quite lonely, so having the opportunity to mix with others who are on the same wavelength can offer you much needed moral support, empathy, and a bit of TLC when times are difficult. You might even discover ways that you can work together to become even bigger and more successful.
Free Market Research
Why not use your network for a bit of free market research? Here you can bounce ideas off your friends and associates, explore new ventures and get genuine feedback that will help you to make the right business decisions.
Join our Network
There are so many motives for being part of a network, and they are all good reasons.
You too have a chance to be part of a fantastic network – the Military Coworking Network, which has been set up by military spouses for military spouses.
e understand the issues and challenges you face; we know what support you need, so why not join us, and see what our network can do for you? And just in case you didn’t know, joining our Online Network is FREE.