Networking  – A MIB’s Low Down

What is Networking?

Networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which business people and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities, share information and seek potential partners for ventures. (source Wikipedia)

Well I think it’s a lot more personal than that. Business Networking is born out of a need for a mutual relationship with likeminded people. We are all trying to make a living and what better way to group up with others who share the same goal.

What are the benefits of Networking?  (Why should I attend?)

Network. Meeting new contacts and making friends! Other than the obvious of meeting new leads and getting potential referrals, we can meet some awesome people. It can be very isolating running a business, especially as a mum, so a hot drink and some adult interaction can really boost your confidence and morale.

Visibility. Staying visible and keeping up to date by attending events can raise your profile. As a business owner you want to be the person that first comes to mind when someone thinks of your industry and being visible in person as well as online can do that. Keeping up with business trends is vital for your marketing planning and business goals.

Collaboration. Need an accountant? Maybe you can meet one at a meeting. Need a Logo? maybe a graphic designer will attend. Maybe a fellow networker needs a product or service from your industry. You see where I am going here, meetings are all about mutual benefit and increasing your revenue.

Getting the best out of your meetings (what do I do when I get there?)

Just be yourself! Everyone attending is just like you, a business owner looking to get their business known. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and put yourself out there. Being genuine and showing passion for your business could get you the revenue you want, people will use you because they like YOU.

You will most likely been given a spot to introduce yourself or pitch. Try and prepare before the event but it’s totally ok to refer to notes if it’s your first time. A very effective way of getting yourself noticed is to offer a product for event gift bags or handouts. This is a really good way of giving a little to get a lot. You can gain a lot of visibility through word of mouth and online exposure such as reviews. I’d recommend bringing along business cards or a flyer to hand out so other networkers can contact you.

Relax (What kind of people will I meet?)

It can be isolating being a business owner, especially as a mum and if you work from home a lot. So, use this time to relax, regroup, and refresh! It’s surprising how inspired you can feel after speaking to a like minded soul. If you haven’t been yet, just try one out!

Mums in business is a place where ladies of the world come together to learn, support and network. Not only do we have a massive online worldwide community with a wealth of knowledge but also local support networks and the all-important networking meetings. In less than 18 months MIBA has brought together over 37,000 women from all over planet!  Find your local meeting here …. Join our Facebook group here…

By Sara Saleh – Sara is a mum of three, a consultant for the award winning travel agency ‘The Savvy Travellers’ and the MIBA events coordinator for Berkshire.