Niche networking could help small firms drum up more business, according to several experts.
Those who freelance or would describe themselves as entrepreneurs – that might soon start a franchise or launch their own business – are advised to take note of one piece of advice given by Guardian Professional’s Guy Clapperton. It is that “a lot of business comes through networking groups”.
Networking in all its forms has always been an important tool for business growth, especially for those business people who are going it alone. Freelancer Jonathan Kalan agrees, telling huffingtonpost.com: “You’ve got to put yourself out there – go to events, parties, work at cafés, do anything and everything to get you and your name out there”.
Yet rather than get lost within a huge network, Clapperton ponders the benefits associated with joining a smaller, niche network via guardian.co.uk. For a start, he writes, a niche network serves a specific market sector and the ‘commonality’ shared between the members makes it “easier to do business”.
Charlie Lawson of Business Network International agrees: “What we’ve learnt about networking is that you should never underestimate who knows who. When seeking a dream referral, the more specific you can be, the better.”
Networking might be uncomfortable for the first-timer, but according to Clapperton’s research, the key for success is to go in the right state of mind, be a good listener and ask the right questions. Most importantly, follow up any opportunities that are presented at such niche networking events – most people want to make contacts after all.