A Guide to Different Types of Business Networking

The business networking is a kind of business social network that is developed to assist business people in connecting with other entrepreneurs and business managers. This is in an aim to promote each other’s business interests through the formation of mutually beneficial businesses relationship. Therefore, business networking is a way of leveraging personal connections with your business. This is to help you in bringing in new customers as well as vendors. You can as well get some tips on how you can run your business better.

business people in a public place/Business Networking

 Some of the prominent business organizations for networking create some models of networking events, after which they allow the business owner to create new business relationships while generating new business opportunities. Chambers of commerce and other groups related to business can as well organize such networking organizations. There are several kinds of networking, but each type varies with the individual depending on the sort of business and the prospects they intend to meet. 

The network works better and favors more small businesses. This is because the owner of the company can attend job functions organized as in the small setups. They get a chance to meet with people of the likeminded. Get to learn from their experiences and also to get guidance on pressing issues that they may need help with.

The events also allow them to meet with angel investors and partners. This happens only through a networking group of experienced business people. Several networking events are carried out in almost all countries to help entrepreneurs grow themselves, able to expand their affiliations, getting to educate themselves as they get empowered. When smart and good tactics are adopted, they helps a lot in securing the partnerships, acquaintances, and friendships.

History of Business Networking

Before the introduction of online business networking, the business people had no other choice than to use face to face method. The success of this networking method was attributed to several strategizes, for example, trade shows loyalty and marketing programs. Although the techniques still prove to be an effective way of growing business and getting connections, many companies are now shifting to online or digital marketing. The reason is that, on online platforms, there is the ability to keep track of every detail of a given campaign. And also, it justifies the kind of expenditure getting involved while setting up such campaigns.

Ethics of Business Networking

Through business networking, job seekers can gain a competitive chance over the rest of the job seekers. The skilled networker can cultivate a personal relationship with a future employer as well as selection panelists. This is in the hope that personal affection shall, in one way or another, influence the hiring decision in the future. However, this kind of networking is raising some concerns. One of the concerns is that it is an attempt to interfere with the formal way of the selection process. The person networking is accused of trying to get favors over the rest of the candidates. The advantage is then based on some personal fondness instead of an objective appraisal of who among the candidates is the most qualified for such a position.

Networked Business

Many companies use networking as the main factor to consider during their marketing plan. It helps in the creation of trust feelings between the parties involved. It also plays a significant role in the rise of the company’s profile. An excellent example of networked business is seen between the businesses and their suppliers. The businesses can source their suppliers through the existing relationships together with those of the companies they have worked closely with. These networked businesses are usually random, open, and also supportive. This is unlike those companies using hierarchical and traditionally managed approaches that as selective, controlling, and closed.  

Five Types of Business Networking

Casual Contact Networks

They are general business groups that accept people from overlapping professions. They usually meet on a monthly bases. They often hold mixers to allow everyone to mingle informally. They are also entitled to hold a meeting with guest speakers presenting vital topics related to business and the issues regarding legislation, local business programs, or community affairs. 

Some examples of this type of business networking are the chambers of commerce that are across the world. Participants are offered the opportunity to make and create valuable contacts with their fellow business people in that community. Making these initial contacts from such a chamber meeting goes a long way in helping in the development of your business referral. 

However, this kind of networking is not tailored to help people get referrals, and an extra effort is needed to ensure they work, for example, by volunteering to be an ambassador of the chamber. The position requires commitment, but on return, it gives much exposure.

Strong Contact Networks

These are organizations whose goal is basically to assist members in exchanging business referrals. Some groups meet on a weekly bases, probably over breakfast and lunch breaks. The membership is limited too in many of these groups as it requires one member in each profession or specialty.

Secure contact networks give focused opportunities for individuals and their associates; they start developing referral marketing campaigns. You might not meet many business people in this kind of networking, but every member of this group will be carrying your business card. The net hence acts as if you are having fifty salespeople who are working for you. Such a program helps you establish a very powerful and very strong network that will prove invaluable.

a man and a woman

If you consider getting into a strong contact group, keep in mind that;

  • You need to arrange your time so that you attend the meetings. Regular attendance is crucial as it assists in developing a rapport with the rest of the members and helps you to know more about their business.
  • You must be comfortable in attending a networking event. Try to be on the lookout of who can be of help to the rest of the group’s members. The amount of business conducted is attracted by a strong contact networking group that is good. You will be removed from the group if you aren’t able to pull your weight.

Community Service Clubs

The activities of this service group are more focused on community service, unlike other business-oriented groups. It’s through giving time and your efforts to the community that you create relationships that deepens and broadens your business and personal networks. You go in to contribute and not to benefit, the social capital you get will always find a way of rewarding you.

Professional associations

Professional association members are from one particular kind of industry, can be architecture, banking, accounting, health, and personal. The objective of this association is to have an exchange of information together with ideas. The purpose of an individual here is to tap such networks by joining the group that has his or her potential target markets and clients. One of the best ways of targeting your crucial group is by asking your best customers and clients which of the groups they belong to.

Many of these groups have limited their membership to only those in specific industry credentials.  An associate member category has been created to generate more income to the slate of those potential vendors by the number of associates that is growing. Their members, however, are not active in the profession or in business in which the group is formed.

For such types of business networks, it is recommended that one should start by looking for ways that he or she can help without, first of all, selling to the members. For example, if you join an association of professional business coaches as a social media consultant, instead of trying to sell your services to them, try to volunteer in running their social media platforms first. Be in charge of their LinkedIn and Facebook pages. This will help you a lot in building relationships with them and hence a great chance to show them your value.

 Online or Social Media Networks

The ideal purpose for social media platforms in business is to help in brand creation and credibility with people who you are connected within the provision of value to your followers and connections. Credibility is a very critical process in networking, whether face to face or online.

To be successful in social media, you need to outline a good strategy that considers the amount of the time you will realistically dedicate to the online marketing efforts as well as being consistent.

a business meeting

You can come up with a schedule say weekly, one outlining certain times and days you are willing to spend while developing a social media strategy. Figure out what is realistic and what will make sense for you and your company and start from there.

Ones you are done with your strategy, wait, and start seeing the reward of your social media investments. It is worth noting that networking is more of farming than hunting. This is whether face to face or online. It is all about creating and cultivating the relationships you have with people. It is all about developing or building the credibility of your brand.  A lot of patience, however, is needed as this doesn’t happen overnight; instead, it takes time.