The Importance of Networking within your Community
Why Networking is Important
We are constantly learning. Despite what our 5 year old selves might have thought, we don’t, in fact, know everything. In order to be our best selves, we must be open to listening to and learning from others. Networking with people in your desired field is a great way to learn from people who are focused on your same goals and industries.
“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”
In addition to getting advice, you tap into creative thinking and problem solving through networking. Outside eyes can look at the problems you have been facing for months and see a solution that you had not thought of. When we limit ourselves to just our perspective, or even to the perspectives of the same few people, we limit our vision and our creativity. Networking puts you in contact with a multitude of visions and experiences that can help you brainstorm new ideas and solutions.
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
One of the most important takeaways from networking is the simple action of becoming visible. Visibility is integral to growth and success, so convincing people that your business is important and something they should get behind is important in achieving success.
4. Market Research
Fail fast. Know if your business is actually useful, and if it is actually accomplishing what you want it to. The only way to truly test your business and to observe how people respond to it is through talking to people about it. Networking allows you to test your market and get feedback for free.
Tips for Successful Networking
1. Networking should be beneficial for both parties
“We rise by lifting others” -Robert Ingersoll
Yes, it is important to think about how networking can help you, but it is also important to think about how you can help the people you are networking with as well. People don’t forget those who have helped them in the past - and neither should you. Paying it forward when others help you, as well as offering your services to those who may not have helped you yet are both important actions that solidify your network.
2. Realize that every connection could be important in the future
No connection should be dismissed. Though you should focus on networking in your desired field, no possible connection should be dismissed as unimportant. Recognize the skills that different people can bring to the table, as well as understand the ways you may be able to help different people as well. A dismissed connection could be a huge missed opportunity.
3. Maintain a relationship
Having a network takes work. Like any healthy relationship, a network requires maintenance. A simple e-mail every week can go a long way, and consistent communication ensures that you are an accessible resource for your connections. Never underestimate the value of communication within your network.
4. Take advantage of social media but also don’t forget about in person meet ups
We live in an age where networking is both easier and harder than ever before. Social media gives us the advantage of being able to reach out to almost anyone with the click of a button. However, because networking is becoming ‘easier’ more people are taking advantage of it, and inboxes are constantly being flooded with emails and LinkedIn messages. Therefore, it is important to be concise when reaching out to people over social media, since doing so increases the chances of a response.
5. Take advantage of networking events
Many places host networking events throughout the year. For example, this Thursday, the Denver Small Business Expo 2017 is taking place at the Colorado Convention Center. It boasts being ‘Denver's biggest business networking event of the year,’ so showing up to this free event is a huge step in the right direction. FL+G will join several other small businesses to network and establish business visibility at this event, demonstrating how easy finding networking opportunities can be.
How FL+G Can Help You Network
1. Networking becomes easier when people remember who you are
A huge aspect of being memorable is being associated with a strong brand. FL+G provides amazing branding services. Being memorable and associated with a clear brand increases the likelihood of success during networking attempts. FL+G increases memorability and networking success through guaranteed branding services such as:
- Brand assessment and audit
- Market Analysis
- Competitive analysis and positioning
- Brand strategy
- Logo/visual identity development
- Brand guidelines
- Brand asset development
2. Using social media to build your network
As mentioned above, social media is becoming an important tool in the networking world. We work hard to design campaigns and strategies that establish and grow your social media presence, and thus make online networking easier and more effective. Our social media services give you access to a large number of possible clients and customers, and and increases your online visibility. Examples of our social media services include:
- Social media strategy
- Content marketing strategy
- Content creation
- Social media execution
3. FL+G focuses on serving small businesses - so ask us about our network
FL+G prioritizes small businesses. We have worked with a wide range of businesses and thus have established our own connections. If you are looking for a connection in a certain industry don’t hesitate to ask us. We want nothing more than to help our clients, and if that includes introducing them to one another, then we are happy to facilitate some introductions!
With all this said, networking is extremely important but can also be extremely daunting. Taking small steps is a great way to get started, and FL+G is here to help you gain the tools you need to make your networking efforts successful.
Written by Caroline Nichols, June 21 2017