Those who know me, will know I frequently promote that it’s important to network on a face-to-face business but perhaps I’ve never fully out lined the reasons why. Two are meeting potential clients and also finding the resources you need for your own business.
Firstly, let me tell you I’ve built a large part of my business through face-to-face networking over the past 22 years and while I do get new clients contacting me via my website and through social media, face-to-face networking is still top of the list. Why is that? Let me share several reasons with you.
- It is good to physically get out of your office, home, or wherever you spend all of your time. Both for your physical well-being but also for your mental health. We’re meant to be social creatures and even if you tend to be shy, being with other people is good for you.
- Meeting others means you get well practiced in sharing what your business is about, over time. You learn to define the description or ‘elevator speech’ and learn from listening to others.
- There’s nothing like being in the company of others to get inspired with new ideas and coming back to the office fresh and raring to go.
- People recognise your face when they see it and relate to you more easily.
- Physical touch, through the shaking of hands, or even a hug, is good for your well being.
- People get to know your personality – how you respond to things, how you represent your business.
- Networking is about building relationships – ones that can be long-lasting.
- People can see your body language and it’s highly likely that misunderstandings will be less frequent.
- You learn things from others in your region – not necessarily in the same field as you – but all the same, business people who live in the same council, shire, or similar and often you’ll find out things you didn’t know before.
- If you’re feeling down often being in the company of others can help lift your spirit again. Those who have gotten to know you over time will read the signs too and reach out to encourage you and help you. I’ve often found the times when I don’t feel like going out are the times I really need to go out.
- Trust is built more quickly when meeting people in person – you’re not just a name or a photo/logo on a screen.
- Face-to-face networking does bring in more business – either directly, or through word-of-mouth marketing via others who have met you personally. They can actually say they know you.
- You’re out in fresh air, getting vitamin D and some exercise – something we all need.
I’m sure there are more points too but hopefully the above will convince you of the importance of networking on a local basis away from your office and/or work premises.
Now I know some of you live in regional areas and perhaps there aren’t any other formalised groups meeting on a local basis. That shouldn’t stop you. Are there other business people in the region? Why not contact your local shire to find out and organise a coffee get-together on a monthly basis or however often you can manage?
Whatever or however you get out to mix and mingle with others, you will be glad you did so.
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.