Networking is important, to any type of business owner, in any type of business. While each entrepreneur will personalize her networking efforts based on her entrepreneurial type, every entrepreneur will benefit from making certain considerations with regard to networking.
In any type of business, networking is crucial. For any type of entrepreneur, networking is essential. Networking not only provides female entrepreneurs with an opportunity to grow their companies; it also gives them the chance to forge relationships that benefit them in many ways, from support to affiliate partnerships.
Networking efforts should be customized and personalized, based on a female entrepreneur’s unique needs, characteristics and habits. However, every woman business owner should take these questions into account:
How much time is available to invest in networking? Some business owners have many responsibilities in addition to running their businesses, and others have the means to delegate the tasks they need to, so they are free to network as much as they want. In any case, an entrepreneur can modify her networking efforts to fit into the amount of time she has available. Social media online can take as little as 30 minutes per day. Networking events can occur as infrequently as once a year and as frequently as once per week. Businesswomen can use just one form of networking, or they can use both forms in any combination. What’s important is that networking become a priority, no matter how much time is invested.
What is the desired result of the networking? While one business owner may want to create a support system through networking, another may want to develop affiliate relationships. Before launching a networking effort, it is important to understand the desired results – and then choose methods and events accordingly. For example, if the owner of a massage spa wants to partner with the owner of a beauty salon to open a new full-service spa and salon, it would behoove her to attend events specifically for successful beauty industry professionals – not necessarily an event designed for women looking only for a support in the form of casual chatting.
How important is networking at this point in the business? Every business owner should consider networking, no matter which phase her business is in. However, the level to which she takes her networking efforts should depend on her priorities for her business. For example, if a business owner has only a certain amount of time to devote to a new project, and she wants to begin networking and launch a new web site, her time might be better spent getting the web site up and running before she begins networking. That way, any networking or marketing she does can drive people to her new web site. In this situation, a business owner could work primarily on her web site and attend a networking event or two each month.
With whom will networking prove most beneficial? Typically, business owners should network either with like-minded business owners, or with business owners who possess qualities they’d like to develop. High-achieving business owners striving for growth will do well to network with people who have similar goals for growth; it is easier to support each other and see potential partnering or referral opportunities. Also, emerging business owners would do well to network with experienced business owners who have a desire to mentor someone. From this partnership, the emerging business owner would gain valuable advice and insight while the expert business owner would enjoy helping someone reach her goals.
Networking is essential to every type of business owner; therefore, each business owner must carefully consider how much time and effort to expend for the anticipated results of such efforts.
Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at www.janeoutofthebox.com