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Importance of networking for small business owners

Importance of networking for small business owners

Networking

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

2 Sep 2016, 11:10 — 4 min read

I went to a networking event in Bengaluru in 2013 with a lot of apprehensions. I had paid Rs 5,000 for attending the event and to be honest, I was not sure if it would be worth it. I am happy to share that I won a decent software order from an until then unknown person and who is now a close friend of mine. He has in fact referred me to several other customers and calls me whenever he needs some advice on new technology.

Another true story worth mentioning here; the marketing head of a multi-national company wanted software to be developed and by chance found us through the web. Now they are our biggest customers and they have also referred us to many others. Here, the contacts were entirely through social media. Interestingly, we met each other after a year or so. In this context, I should also mention GlobalLinker, which has brought me several contacts and friendships across the country.

As the owner of a mid-sized software company, I definitely cannot afford to have a large marketing budget and hence I find social media a very good avenue to promote my business and to earn referrals. When you, as a business owner say a ‘hello’ to another similar business owner whom you meet over coffee in a seminar, it could lead to a conversation, an understanding of what each of you do and perhaps to a long standing friendship and business association. Is it possible to go to every other event or seminar or trade-show to gain contacts? Think about the cost and time and the effect it will have on the day-to-day business operations. Think about the cost of advertising your products and services in newspapers, televisions and other media.

This is where  online networking platforms such as GlobalLinker, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email groups, Referral Key, etc. are useful. A small business owner can judiciously use such media to promote their business and gain contacts from all over the world. We never know what opportunities one may discover. By networking, whether in-person or through social media, we are in regular contact with other growth-minded business owners. It is a great learning ground even if one does not have any specific purpose in contacting. Our contacts may have great project ideas where we may also get involved, who knows?

Good collaborators and investors are hard to find. Many business owners have big plans for the future but these require a talented team and a big investment. Professional networking provides an opportunity to find people who could make smart, talented partners or dedicated, experienced investors. My involvement in social media such as GlobalLinker and LinkedIn has honed my skills in writing and to express effectively, what I wish to say. This has brought new friendships and business contacts.

Networking definitely has enlarged the boundaries of my business to far away countries. That is the power of the internet and social media. I have also used networking to look for good candidates for my company. Recently I helped my friend to validate a candidate by contacting him through a social media channel.

 

Networking events are also a good breaking ground for the tongue-tied and shy individuals. One automatically discovers his/her skills in speaking and making friends. It is not always a one-way traffic. It has been possible for me to refer business to my contacts also.

I conclude my article by saying, when establishing contacts through networking, do not go with expectations to gain business. Go with the thought that ‘givers gain’ and extend your hands to help the contacts you make. Business will flow in. Above all, it can lead to some ever-lasting friendships and that is what I hope to gain every time.

Happy networking!

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

 

Posted by

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Managing partner of Innovatus Systems, founded by him on January 1, 2013. Sridhar is a result oriented professional with over four decades in the Information Technology &...

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