You know that networking is important for your business to help it grow, so you’re probably socially networking with your customers all the time, and that’s a good thing. However, you should be networking with your business associates, and your competitors, too. If you haven’t already, join your local Chamber of Commerce, and/or Better Business Bureau, and attend their regular business meetings or “mixers.” This will give you the opportunity to meet with your business associates and learn from them.
Take Advantage of Their Knowledge
When you meet with your associates, you can learn from their knowledge of their business acumen, and how they have survived being in business. Everyone has knowledge to impart, and many are happy to share that knowledge. You should also be willing to share your own knowledge about how you manage your own business, and help out others who are looking for help. That’s how businesses survive and thrive, especially in a down marketplace. That’s not to say that you should give away all your secrets, but helping others is a sign of a healthy, respectful business relationship, and it forges strong relationships, as well.
Network with Other Businesses, Too
Take advantage of other business owners in your area, too. See what they’re doing right, and try to find out what they’re doing wrong, too. These businesses are here to gain more business knowledge just like you are, and they may have some great tips to share. Besides, networking can be fun and entertaining, and you might even find some new products or services to sell at your business. Networking has numerous advantages for you and your business, so the cost of membership in these local groups can really pay you back in many ways.
Your competitors can also be a good source of information, if they’re willing to share. If you can find out what’s working for them, and what’s not, that can help you in your own business. Of course, they may be unwilling to work with you, and that’s not surprising. However, if your can work with them, or at least share some information with them, you may be able to gain some knowledge that can mutually help both your businesses to thrive and survive.
The bottom line is that businesses need to work with each other if they want to thrive in tough economic times. It’s not enough to network with customers, they need to network with each other, and share what works to keep on surviving.