Networking for Virtual Assistants
I have always been a huge fan of business networking but, I was chatting recently with someone, and we both had very different views on how well it works. They said that they had tried it for a few months and had no success whereas, I can honestly say that 75% of all my business comes as a direct result of business networking. I guess it works differently depending on how confident you are talking to new people and what your business does. I personally feel that it is a valuable resource for most businesses, and it is worth stepping out of your comfort zone to give it a go.
So, here are the reasons why I love networking and would recommend it to others.
- Networking isn’t something that you can just attend once or twice and expect to get immediate results. This is for various reasons. People like to get to know you as a person; they want to trust the person that they may be doing business with in the future. They may not require your services at the present but, now they have your card and have got to know you better they will remember you. They will also recall you when talking to other people and recommend you, and there is no better endorsement than a recommendation! So don’t expect an instant result, some of my business has appeared nearly eighteen months after I met that person at networking.
- Don’t just go to a networking event to sell your business. There will be a variety of businesses represented there and some that could help you. You may meet someone that you could use as a supplier or for training both personally and for your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for people’s business cards so that you can recommend them to others as well. People will appreciate that, and you will be remembered.
- If you attend regularly, you may get invited to do a presentation on your business, this way you get longer than your usual sixty seconds to showcase your business.
- You do not need to pay out a lot to network! This one is important, and it’s easy to get caught out by the hard sell. The networking groups I attend cost no more than £5 per event, and I have had a great deal of success from them. Is it worth paying more? You don’t even have to attend a networking group, you can network anywhere!
- You don’t have to physically attend a networking group if that isn’t your cup of tea! Networking can take place online. I enjoy chatting with people on #Cumbriahour, and there are some good networking groups around on Facebook and LinkedIn too. Remember, networking isn’t direct selling, it is chatting and getting to know other people and their businesses. If you can’t find a good one, why not start one?
- Networking can open doors to many other opportunities. As you are meeting such a diverse range of businesses, the opportunities are endless. Since I started networking I have been invited to talk on the radio about my business and had articles in the newspaper, somebody even nominated me for an award.
- Lastly, networking is fun! Not only do you get to meet lots of great people, grow your business, make friends and listen to interesting speakers; some networking groups hold fun events too. In the last year I have had meals out, been to a spa evening, attended parties, been canoeing on Ullswater and visited lots of different businesses.
Not all groups are the same, find the ones that fit you and your business and give it a good try. Let us know how you get on!