Business networking through Peer To Peer Group is the process of developing relationships in order to enhance knowledge, increase business and expand one’s sphere of influence.
Your Peer To Peer Group network could include everyone from friends and relatives, business connections, your social network, current and previous co-workers, and members of groups to which you belong.
Business networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new leads, and tell others about your business. Active networking is vital to growth.
Conference Evaluation Is A Critical Aspect of Conference Management
When Henrik Balmer became the production manager and a board member of a newly bought-out cosmetics firm, improving his network was the last thing on his mind. The main problem he faced was time: Where would he find the hours to guide his team through a major upgrade of the production process and then think about strategic issues like expanding the business? The only way he could carve out time and still get home to his family at a decent hour was to lock himself—literally—in his office. Meanwhile, there were day-to-day issues to resolve, like a recurring conflict with his sales director over custom orders that compromised production efficiency.
Networking, which Henrik defined as the unpleasant task of trading favors with strangers, was a luxury he could not afford. But when a new acquisition was presented at a board meeting without his input, he abruptly realized he was out of the loop—not just inside the company, but outside, too—at a moment when his future in the company was at stake.
Henrik’s case is not unusual. Over the past two years, we have been following a cohort of 30 managers making their way through what we call the leadership transition, an inflection point in their careers that challenges them to rethink both themselves and their roles. In the process, we’ve found that networking—creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.
Their discomfort is understandable. Typically, managers rise through the ranks by dint of a strong command of the technical elements of their jobs and a nose-to-the-grindstone focus on accomplishing their teams’ objectives. When challenged to move beyond their functional specialties and address strategic issues facing the overall business, many managers do not immediately grasp that this will involve relational—not analytical—tasks. Nor do they easily understand that exchanges and interactions with a diverse array of current and potential stakeholders are not distractions from their “real work” but are actually at the heart of their new leadership roles.
Like Henrik (whose identity we’ve disguised, along with all the other managers we describe here), a majority of the managers we work with say that they find networking insincere or manipulative—at best, an elegant way of using people. Not surprisingly, for every manager who instinctively constructs and maintains a useful network, we see several who struggle to overcome this innate resistance. Yet the alternative to networking is to fail—either in reaching for a leadership position or in succeeding at it.
Watching our emerging leaders approach this daunting task, we discovered that three distinct but interdependent forms of networking—operational, personal, and strategic—played a vital role in their transitions. The first helped them manage current internal responsibilities, the second boosted their personal development, and the third opened their eyes to new business directions and the stakeholders they would need to enlist. While our managers differed in how well they pursued operational and personal networking, we discovered that almost all of them underutilized strategic networking. In this article, we describe key features of each networking form (summarized in the exhibit “The Three Forms of Networking”) and, using our managers’ experiences, explain how a three-pronged networking strategy can become part and parcel of a new leader’s development plan.
There are many benefits of business networking:
1. Increased business.
Networking is great for generation of referrals. You get high-quality referrals through networking, and much higher quality leads than other forms of marketing.
2. Strong connections.
Betruedesign networking opportunities opens the door to talk to highly influential people that you won’t otherwise be able to find easily. You have a great source of relevant connections in your network that you can call on when you need them.
3. New opportunities.
You gain opportunities like joint ventures, partnerships, business, client leads, job, speaking and writing opportunities. Active networking increases your likelihood of receiving new opportunities for business, career advancement, and personal growth. Make sure the opportunities you get involved in should align with your goals and vision.
4. Career advice and support.
You get quality advice from your network on all sorts of things related to your business or even your personal life. Networking opens the door to valuable suggestions and guidance from experts and experienced people. Your sphere of experienced peers will be able to answer even your toughest questions.
5. New ideas.
Exchanging information on challenges, experiences and goals is a key benefit of networking. Your network can be an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas. By talking to experts, you can gain insights from a different perspective. You see things in a new light.
6. Raising your profile.
Networking helps you build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person if done right. Regularly attending professional and social events will help you get noticed and advance your career.
7. Positive influence.
It’s important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people that help you grow and thrive as a business owner.
8. More knowledge.
Networking is a great opportunity to exchange best practice knowledge, learn about the business techniques of others and stay abreast with latest industry developments.
9. Increased confidence.
By continuously putting yourself out there and meeting new people via a Peer To Peer Group, you’re stepping outside your comfort zone and building invaluable social skills and self-confidence. You get increased confidence by regularly networking and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know.
Strong lasting friendships tend to form as a result of networking because mostly all are like-minded business owners.
11. Satisfaction from helping others.
Business owners have problems and issues within their business that needs solving, and it’s a great satisfaction helping others.
In short networking sessions organized by Betruedesign is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time.
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