For a small business owner, being part of a local business network where trusting, reciprocating relationships are built, is incredibly important to be successful. A local business network can open doors for new opportunities, help sustain long-term alliances and become an avenue for learning, development and growth. Find out the benefits of connecting online and offline with a local network of entrepreneurs and business owners.
- Find New Alliances
Nothing in business is ever built by a single person. Forming new alliances with local suppliers and retailers or with like-minded entrepreneurs who have a complementary skill set is vital for continued growth. Collaboration is also essential to providing new creative solutions to clients and customers which is essential when navigating new challenges like a pandemic!
COVID-19 has exposed limitations to old business models and business practices.
The pandemic has accelerated market trends towards remote work, localism, shorter supply chains, and the enhanced use of technology. Exploring a local business network can open you up to an ecosystem of potential strategic alliances so you can better service your existing customer base through adapting your operating model in the new normal.
By collaborating with other business owners and entrepreneurs, you can reach a broader market and grow your customer base.
Making local networking connections helps you to get your business known to a wider network of people and achieve a sustainable pathway to profitability.
Local referrals can open the door to a steady stream of clients and customers, particularly when more consumers associate local products with a high level of quality, trust and familiarity. Given the wide-spread pessimism of the road to economic recovery, referrals can help you gain momentum after the economic downturn of 2020.
- Overcome A Sense of Isolation
It is common for entrepreneurs to express loneliness but the lockdowns have only amplified this feeling. While the pandemic has caused widespread physical disconnection, in 2021 it should be about cultivating new relationships and making up for what many see as a lost year.
Networking is an excellent way to develop solid and reliable business relationships.
Conversations with local business owners are vital, especially as people shake off any social anxiety which has resulted from being locked down for several months.
It’s also a great way to switch off the news and hear firsthand from locals what’s really going on in the community. We all need encouragement and support when running a business. Just hearing other people’s business stories and journeys over the last 12 months can give you new motivation for coming out of COVID and help you realise you are not alone in the challenges you face in rebuilding your business.
- Get the Best from Online and Offline Connections
We live in a hyper-connected digital world but if all our business network is solely online we can feel that our connections are shallow and don’t translate into real business opportunities. Since the pandemic, there are a plethora of online events and motivational webinars for business people. But the best network is a combination of offline and offline events that help you build a network that is authentic and resilient during difficult times. Most people are shunning constant face to face meetings but a combination of offline events where you meet people with follow up opportunities online to deepen the business relationship is the best option for collaboration and business growth.
- Gain Practical Business Insights
If you’re a start-up, or a sole trader who would benefit from a sounding board for work-related matters, networking can be an excellent avenue to finding a listening ear. People don’t always want to talk to colleagues about things they are struggling with but a local business network can give you access to other business owners who can empathise with the current local market conditions and share their stories of how they are navigating the COVID-19 crisis.
As many continue to work from home, meeting other business owners who may not work in your industry can expose you to new ways of doing business.
Through local networking, you can enlarge your perspective and gain valuable insight from experienced professionals who have learned business resilience through previous economic disruptions. Crises come and go but it is those who learn fortitude during times of significant disruption that will capitalise on the opportunities that arise.