You’ve heard it said that it’s not what you know, but who you know that can help you get ahead. That is definitely the case when it comes to growing your business or taking your company to the next level. Having a strong network and social support can help you grow your business. Building up that network can take time but is often worth it in the long run. Here’s why being social can pay off.
You Get Inside Information
Harvard Business Review recently published a study examining the difference between male and female champagne grape growers. More grape growers are male than female, which might seem to set the female growers up for unfair treatment or otherwise put them at a disadvantage. But HBR’s study found something else entirely. Women growers were able to ask for and receive higher prices for their grapes than male growers.
The authors of the study chalked the female grower’s advantage up to their ability and willingness to be social with each other. Since they were in the minority among growers, women tended to bond and to form relationships and networks with each other. Those networks led them to share information about pricing, which in turn allowed them to get more competitive rates for their grapes than the male growers. Meanwhile, the male growers were likely to insist that no one shared pricing information with each other, a belief that prevented them from getting a higher price for their grapes.
You Get Support When You Need It
Another benefit of being social is that you develop a support system. Then, when you have a concern or need help solving a business problem, you have people to turn to who might already have an idea of how your company runs and what it might need to take the next step or otherwise advance.
You Can Get Referrals
Many businesses get a lot of their customers from referrals. When you know people, and they know what you do, they are likely to recommend you to others who might need what your company has to offer. But people are only going to recommend you or refer you if they know you and have a connection to you.
Likewise, you can also refer your customers to a member of your network if you know that your customers are looking for something your fellow business owner offers. Referrals don’t just help your business or your colleague’s businesses grow. They also reinforce trust within your business network.
How to Network
Knowing how to network and connect with other businesses or other business owners is a key part of using your network to help build your business. There’s a fine line between networking and socializing and expecting everyone in the room that be always willing to solve your problems.
The most important thing to remember is that networking is a two-way street. Think about what you have to offer your network before you ask for help or advice. You don’t want to be the person who shows up to a networking event and expects everyone there to immediately help you nor do you want to be the person who’s only ever asking for advice.
If a member of your network does help you out or give your some advice, find a way to reciprocate. You might refer others to his or her company, for example, or hire his or her company the next time you need that particular service.
Remember that being social isn’t the same thing as being a freeloader. The people in your network are also in business. They depend on other paying to benefit from their skills or service. It’s acceptable to ask for simple advice and to ask a question or two. But if you want more in-depth guidance, it’s better to hire the person you’re networking with, rather than continue to try to get information for free.
Great relationships are key to your business’ continued growth and success. New Direction Capital takes our relationships with our clients very seriously, with the goal of helping those we work with grow. To learn more about our CFO services, contact us today.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net