Networking in Challenging Times
When the going gets tough, the tough get networking.
Business Networking can provide a lot of benefits throughout the lifecycle of a business. When a business is having difficulties, the first response is often to cut any and all expenditure in order to keep the business afloat. When you’re looking for areas to trim back, your networking membership might be something you consider letting go. However (and yes, we know we’re biased) we genuinely believe business networking provides benefits throughout the lifecycle of a business, including during the downturns. In fact, it’s one of the best times to be networking!
Three reasons to network in tough times:
Business Networking provides a community of supportive and like minded people, who care about you and your business. These people have a wide range of business and life experience, will be there to cheer you on when you’re doing well and are willing to help you through any struggles you may encounter during your business journey. A supportive network can help with anything from your marketing, finances, or your work-life balance.
Your networking group should be a safe place to celebrate your successes, vent about your frustrations, and ask the ‘dumb questions’. (Although we think there are no dumb questions when it comes to business).
You may also find that there are people in your networking group that you connect with outside of the meeting. They may become people that help you out by talking business with you one on one. We have lots of names for these types of relationships: your business friends, accountability buddies, or if you want to be boring, your acquaintances. Having someone else that you can share your problems with can help you to get it off your chest, in a beneficial and practical way.
The people in your networking group are caring and trustworthy and experienced. If you tell them you’re struggling they may be able to help you to brainstorm a bunch of different ways to help you solve your problems. And if you bring some ideas for your business people are often interested in helping you to finesse those and bring them to a cohesive product or service. It’s not the first time someone has said “I’m struggling with…” or “I’m thinking about doing…” and the whole meeting has suddenly turned into a group brainstorm, to help that one person get what they need.
As well as brainstorming ways to boost your business, a trusted group of professionals can help you pivot, define your strategy in a tough or changing market, and explore creative ways to get out of a personal or financial rut. As you build genuine relationships within your networking group you’ll find yourself turning to the group for feedback and advice on your visions and plans - and you’ll be able to offer valuable support in return.
If you ever have “down time” during your work, where you’re not incredibly busy, don’t fret. You can always use this time to develop relationships with people that can help you in your business, or who can help your clients. These relationships can be incredibly important to your business as they can improve the services you provide to your clients.
Having a relationship with someone who can take over some of your work, such as your admin or website, can allow you to have more time and connect with your clients better. And having synergies with people that your clients can use, can help you to provide a more well-rounded solution to their problems.
Taking the time to build relationships with the people in your group can also lead them to becoming your clients, or recommending you to people that they know.
A downturn in your business, industry, or the economy, shouldn’t be a reason to step back from business networking- the relationships you build will be more important now than ever. At The Networkers you’ll be able to create supportive relationships with other caring business professionals who can support you through your business journey.