Great Advantages of a Business Network in 2022
April 26, 2022
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Having a flexible and diverse support network can be incredibly beneficial. Especially when it comes to starting a small business or maintaining a startup.
A variety of organizations and networks offer help and connections to entrepreneurs worldwide. Being part of a business network can lead to new business, sales, and investment opportunities.
In this article, read more about business networks. You will explore what are the benefits and the best way to enlarge your business network.
What is a business network?
A business network is a large group of organizations that collaborate to achieve a common goal. Strategic objectives are adopted by business networking groups based on their market position.
Business associations and company aggregations are two types of business networks. They help small and SMEs become more competitive and innovative.
Local business owners join them as well. Wide rangings of businesses usually take part in business associations.
Online platforms link and manage all data for an organization. Connecting data to people, systems, and things securely allows for more efficient corporate processes as well as new insights and value. It can be mutually beneficial.
Origin of business network
The first definition refers to a network in a broader sense, such as a network of railways or a canal system. That reminds us that a network is made up of connecting lines that go in opposite directions.
If there are no connecting lines, a network – especially a business network – ceases to be a network.
It’s just as crucial to cultivate contacts as it is to establish and maintain solid lines of communication in all directions. Instead, we may say that creating contacts is pointless unless good channels of communication are created and maintained.
A networker is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as
- “A person who works from home or from a remote location using a computer network.”
- “A person who advances their career through a network of professional or social relationships.”
The original networker term here refers to the usage of a computer network. Currently, the concept of working from home has melded significantly with the more modern meaning of networking. This is meant in the sense of connections and communications.
A computer is likely to be important in most types of home or remote working. However, what matters most these days is communication and connections. A specific reliance on a computer network lost importance.
According to the 1922 Oxford English Dictionary, ‘network’ entered the English language around 1560. It derives from the terms ‘net labor’. ‘Net labor’ referred to the act or process of manufacturing a net out of threads or wires.
Today, these two separated root words, ‘network,’ are quite appropriate. ‘Network’ reminds us of the essential elements of modern successful networking. This includes:
- We work to build, grow, use, aid, and enable our own net (network) of contacts (use thought, commitment, and effort).
- Hard work is required to build a good network and to ensure that networking succeeds.
- Nothing worthwhile comes from a network that does not produce work.
A closer look into networking
The study of business networks first appeared in the sphere of industrial marketplaces in the late twentieth century. Researchers looked into the transactions and conversations, beyond the visible flows of products, queries, sales visits, and negotiations. And beyond the visible development and prosperity of certain companies and the collapse of others.
Snehota and Hakansson (1995) explain:
“We have studied business networks for almost twenty years in order to find solutions to the various problems regarding industrial markets. Industrial markets, unlike consumer markets, are not well-known among the general public or among management specialists.
The intricacy of industrial markets, as well as the seeming smoothness with which they operate, has shocked us. We’ve gradually gained an appreciation for their importance and intricacy, as well as an understanding of how they work.”
Ecorys conducted another study on business networks between 2013 and 2014. The European Commission funded this study, which focused on EU-level commercial networks.
The study’s major goal was to research and highlight new forms of inter-firm collaboration. If necessary recommend potential steps to support and coordinate them in Europe. The objectives and sorting of business networks were considered in this study.
Businesses and networks
Networking is an important part of many companies’ marketing strategies. It contributes to the development of a strong sense of trust among those engaged. It also plays an important role in enhancing a company’s profile.
Suppliers and businesses can be seen as networked enterprises. Suppliers and customers are sourced through current ties and those of the organizations with which they collaborate.
Businesses that rely on hierarchical, traditional managed approaches are closed, selective, and controlling. Those that rely on networked approaches are open, random, and supporting.
In 2009, Thomas Power, a businessman and the head of Ecademy, an online business network, coined these expressions.
Employment searchers can use networking to get a competitive advantage over their competitors in the job market.
The skilled networkers cultivate personal ties with prospective employers and selection panellists. They hope to influence future hiring decisions through these personal affections.
This type of networking has sparked an ethical debate. The argument is that it is an attempt to tamper with formal selection processes.
The networker is accused of seeking an unfair advantage over other candidates. This is based on personal preference rather than any objective assessment of who is most qualified for the job.
What are the benefits of business networking?
Business networking could help you become more aware of or keep up with the newest trends and technology in your field. A network can also connect you with professional mentors or connections who may be able to help you with specific challenges.
You might be able to find an angel investor or venture capitalist through networking methods if your company requires equity finance. In this way, businesses grow thanks to networking.
Networking is an excellent way to broaden your knowledge by gaining access to other people’s perspectives and prior experience.
If might be thinking about exporting your products or services, for example. In this case, you might be able to acquire some helpful advice from someone who has a similar overseas company.
Types of Business Networking
As you attend networking events, keep an eye out for signs that someone could be able to help your company. This is especially true if you have something to offer.
This might simply be discussions regarding the current state of your industry’s market. Or it might concern any patterns that each of you has noticed. You can collaborate to have a better grasp of the market in which you both operate.
You should look for and attend business seminars. You can develop new working relationships with your new colleagues and business associates. Then interact on a regular basis to keep everyone up to date.
The most effective business networking organizations function as a conduit for exchanging business information, ideas, and support. There are numerous networking organizations and communities available online.
LinkedIn is an example of a huge networking group or site that may connect professionals together. Sometimes social media can be a good networking channel.
There are organizations made up of like-minded people that operate in comparable businesses and disciplines. These groups may charge membership fees or have additional criteria for membership. Yet, they can be extremely beneficial to small company owners trying to extend their network.
Two examples of specific associations are the American Management Association and the American Marketing Association.
Tips for Business networking
Business networking is a low-cost marketing approach for establishing sales possibilities and relationships based on referrals and introductions. They can be:
- Face-to-face at meetings and events
- Other communication channels. These include phone, email, and, increasingly, social and business networking websites.
The phrase ‘networking’ is sometimes mistaken for the term ‘computer networking/networks’. This refers to the connection and access to many computer systems.
A company network of contacts serves as both a route to market and a marketing tool for you. Business networking provides a mechanism to reach decision-makers who would be difficult to reach through traditional advertising tactics.
Furthermore, business networking provides the benefits of recommendation and personal introduction. They both are extremely beneficial in the development of company chances.
Business networking allows you to put to good use the adage: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…”.
Business networking principles and strategies are basically plain sense. Many of the principles apply to:
- other aspects of business and relationships in general
Consider professionals outside the business world, such as scientists, lecturers, educators, and councillors. They can be extremely useful business network contacts.
Consider folks you wouldn’t often see at other business networking events while making your networking plans.
Since some of the most crucial relationships aren’t business people, you’ll need to be inventive in reaching out to them.
How CONNECTS helps you with business networking
CONNECTS is a SaaS platform. We help entrepreneurs and SMEs grow their businesses.
With CONNECTS, you can have access to a business network, online and worldwide. You can find trust through our global network of Chambers of Commerce.
On our platform, you can:
- find online business opportunities
- join and promote your own business community
- connect with a worldwide network
To actively use the platform and join these communities, you need to become a member of the CONNECTS platform.
Join CONNECTS and discover a world of new opportunities you can trust. The platform is a Business and Chamber Directory.
You can try our free trial for new members.
Are you a member of a participating Chamber? Join our Business Development Platform for free.