Much is made of social media marketing for business these days. Twitter streams, blog posts and even books are full of information about how you can build a successful business with social media marketing.
Even much of our relationship building is done through social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogs are all used to meet and build relationships with competitors, colleagues and potential clients. You can run a successful business without ever leaving your home office or even speaking to another person.
Does this mean that attending in-person networking events and participating in networking groups is unnecessary and out of date?
Not at all.
Unless your business is 100-percent online and you will never have a client who lives or works anywhere near your geographical area, in-person networking can still benefit your business. Meeting and getting to know other members of your business community, whether they are competitors, associates or potential clients can not only help you build your business locally, but establish you as an authority in your field, both locally and online.
Here are three ways you can benefit from in-person networking.
Being a solo entrepreneur or working from home can be very isolating. People who work in offices with co-workers or employees have regular business and social contact. Solo entrepreneurs do not. Being able to associate with other people in similar circumstances can help you build a support network and eliminate the isolation that can lead to business failure.
While being a solo entrepreneur is great and rewarding, strategic partnerships and collaborations can be even more profitable and rewarding. While it is entirely possible to develop such projects through online networking, many people are far more comfortable entering into such arrangements with someone they actually know. The trust factor in a relationship, whether business or social, is often easier to establish in person than online. Also, the logistics of a partnerships where the partners are close enough to meet in person can be much simpler.
Most entrepreneurs know that one of the quickest ways to become established and acknowledged as an authority in your field and to grow your business is through teaching or through speaking opportunities. While most event organizers are not likely to spend money to bring in an untested, untried speaker, many local chambers of commerce, civic groups and business associations will welcome a speaker who is willing to speak for a nominal fee or even free, giving you the opportunity to hone your skills and promote your business to many local influencers who may become clients or who may refer you to others who will become clients.
These are just three ways that local, in-person networking can help you grow your business. Have you had any other positive experiences with networking? Please share in the comment section below.
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