Networking is a crucial element in the success of any business venture. For small businesses, it is almost more important as networking can help secure a place in the business’s specific niche. Networking today means a blend of online and face-to-face connections. The good news is that online networking is easier than ever before due to the accessibility of numerous networking sites on a variety of media platforms. Often cultivating a strong online presence and brand results in connections made that can lead to face-to-face interactions. When it comes to small business networking, there are numerous resources available to help small businesses get their feet wet in the marketing and networking worlds. Networking connections can result in gaining support, investors, employees, suppliers, and customers.
Not Sure About Networking?
Often people starting out in the small-business world question the importance of networking. Especially with the prevalence of the digital marketplace, business owners may question the relevance of making business connections when they can just pour the majority of their effort into an online site to attract customers. While having a strong online brand is, indeed, more important these days than ever before, that will only get a business so far if effort is not also being put into networking. Networking means more than schmoozing for customers; it means securing yourself a place in your chosen business niche. In doing so, you connect with other entrepreneurs who can have valuable insights into branding, marketing, and establishing a successful small business. Networking can help you find people whose help you need like investors, suppliers, employees and customers.
When it comes to small businesses making connections, online networking is a huge part of that. As the digital marketplace dominates most, if not all, business ventures, finding connections and occupying your chosen niche online is a crucial aspect of small business marketing. Fortunately, there is no shortage of networking sites available to make the process as accessible as possible. Below are a few valuable sites for small business networking.
— Ali Mayar 400 (@alimayar400) April 9, 2018
Meetup.com is a great site for people wanting to meet up and share common interests, events, or outings. There is also a Meetup app for ease of use from your phone. With a site like Meetup, you can either join a group or create your own. You can create or join groups of like-minded individuals that could benefit you personally or professionally. For small businesses, this provides a great opportunity to make connections with people that could generate business leads and future customers.
Small Business Expo
Small Business Expo is the largest business-to-business trade show that America has to offer. It is a large-scale conference and networking event for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small business owners. The Expo comes to 15 major U.S. cities and focuses on networking and building valuable business connections. These connections are invaluable in finding top vendors that can help a business find a secure toehold in their industry. This fabulously informative networking opportunity is available for free and can give small business owners just the inspiration they need to get started or get growing.
Small Business Forum
As one of the largest online advice forums, smallbusinessforums.org is a fabulous resource for business advice across a wide range of industries. There are numerous forums from ‘marketing and advertising’ to ‘legal and regulatory’ issues. All a user needs to do is click on the forum that is the most relevant, and they can join in the discussion or simply learn from the advice of others.
Reddit for Small Business
At r/smallbusiness, this subreddit is dedicated to all things business. This is an active platform with a large group of followers. Users can pose a business-related question and benefit from the large audience they reach in the responses. In terms of conducting business and target audience research, this is a free resource that can help you mold your business and marketing strategy and approach.
Networking is not for everyone. Some are natural at it, while others struggle with confidence or social issues. When it comes to small business networking, face-to-face is always valuable, but these days, the majority of business networking can happen from the comfort of your own home or office with some of the aforementioned online networking resources.