Do you find the idea of networking scary and overwhelming? I did too, at first. But since joining The Athena Network, I’ve experienced amazing results, and so have my friends and connections! So let’s talk about the benefits of networking.
This week, I recorded my first-ever solo episode to share the examples and experiences of some of the lovely ladies I’ve met through networking. I asked them to tell us what networking did for them both personally and for their businesses and here are the 8 benefits that we highlighted as a group.
You can listen using the link below or via your favourite podcasting platforms here The Business Greenhouse with Emmie Faust.
Benefits of networking
Sales and business growth
It takes time for people to get to know, like, and trust you and buy from you. And while you can’t expect immediate results, I now see the positive impact in my own business – 50% of my clients come directly or indirectly from my network.
And I’m not the only one who is seeing this in their business – Angela Zeballos of AZ Design Brand Consultant says: “50% of my turnover comes directly or indirectly from networking. It’s been a proven method for my business and suits my direction to marketing my business, which is not to be overly ‘salesy’.” If you sell high-ticket items, getting to know you is crucial for your prospective clients.
One of my clients, Jane Dyson at huh!Bags. is in my networking group. We worked together on the launch of her new handbag brand, huh! Bags. Just a few weeks after our first meeting we managed to launch the e-commerce site and a few days later the launch party. So much fun! And this project was a true collaboration with other members of our network, who were also involved in the launch.
Testing ideas and new product offerings
Louisa Chapman- Andrews at CookFolk says: “For me, networking provided the safe place I needed to test out my ideas and the support and confidence to launch cook folk – I’m not sure I would have done it without everyone at Athena. Incredible women who have been supportive and encouraging all the way.”
I have personally done the same when running my first marketing workshop with Silvia del Corso – SEO consultant. Most of the people who attended our workshop were from our network – we had a great turn out of friendly, supportive faces, and this gave me the confidence to do my first workshop. Plus, I was able to gather feedback afterwards, which is invaluable.
I love to collaborate with others and having people that I can trust to partner with and work on projects with. I’ve been lucky to meet a lot of talented ladies who come from a corporate background but are now working on their own. And it’s fantastic to know you can rely on someone with the right skills and expertise who won’t charge the London-based agency prices.
An example of this is Liesel Bockl – photographer. I have collaborated with Liesel on quite a few projects now. I totally trust her and her capabilities. She has done some amazing photography for one of my clients, The Wellcome Trust, and also photographed all the bags for Jane Dyson’s handbags, huh!Bags.
Angela Zeballos of AZ Design Branding Consultant is also a strategic partner of mine. We often work together on projects or she is at the end of the phone for me when I have a wobble!
Extension of your team
An example of this is Susie Spires – Marketing Consultant. As a marketing consultant, ‘on paper’ Susie and I are competitors. But Susie is another strategic partner of mine – we have worked together on projects where I have wanted some additional expertise, and it’s been great to be able to rely on Susie. Working with someone else is so much more fun, and the client benefits from getting both of our knowledge and expertise rather than just mine.
Susie loves networking and told me that she sees many benefits but interestingly pointed out something close to my heart! “As relationships grow its easy to see how your network becomes your team. I’ve also discovered the joy of sharing skills with competitors and not competing but growing and helping others to do so too.”
We all need support from others from time to time, especially when it’s just us in our business.
Andreea Tufescu – photographer is, once again, someone I have personally worked with before. I’ve seen networking work brilliantly for Andreea. She’s always at so many networking events taking photographs, which is a great way for her to meet people and connect (and to show them her expertise). Andreea says”It’s a great platform for meeting lots of talented people in different fields of expertise, and for nourishing those connections to build and grow each other’s businesses. It provides amazing support from like-minded business owners, long-lasting friendships and beautiful collaborations.”
Working on your own can be lonely sometimes. Finding new friends is perhaps an unexpected but additional benefit of networking.
Silvia del Corso – SEO consultant came from Italy nearly 4 years ago. She literally knew no one and says: “I knew how to do my job (luckily they’re transferable skills) but I had no clients – or friends. I’m happy to say that networking gave me both of them. I had never done networking before and I was feeling very tense, but it can be very friendly and quite an enjoyable experience. It has helped me grow my business amazingly well and I feel blessed to have met such amazing people along the way!”
A network of suppliers
One of the reasons why my clients come to me is that I can recommend suppliers who know what they’re doing and will provide great value.
Sara Bussandri – Content Writer helps me with my podcast show notes and has also been involved in Jane’s business (handbags). Sara has actually been on my podcast already – it’s episode 3 – How to plan content and blog regularly with Sara Bussandri. She said: “The benefits for me are that I gained clients, friends, business AND life advice, and a network of people I can trust when I need something or when others need a recommendation.”
I have used other suppliers that I have met through networking including VA’s and Suki and Abi – two other copywriters.
And last but not least, networking provides great opportunities to learn from others – not just in terms of skills and expertise but also on how to grow your business and share your ups and downs.
Helen Bantock – Kite Web Design says, “Learning and absorbing other members’ knowledge within their speciality, and their example of ways they have grown their own businesses has proved really important.”
Relationships have been invaluable both for strategic alliances and for friendships too. If you build good relationships you find people have your back and are there when you need advice.
Helen told me that she has seen great results from networking (she measures everything and has seen the ROI), but she gives some great advice. “There is one warning, however, do not expect a quick result – it takes time for people to get to know you and for you to get to know them. Referring is not quid quo pro, and should be done with generosity (understanding other’s businesses is key). You get out what you out in.
Related LinkedIn posts
This is the LinkedIn post I mentioned talking about networking and everyone’s feedback.
and here is another one related to this podcast episode.
More about me
If you’d like to work with me to help you find your purpose – or your ‘North Start’, as Will calls it – and to grow your business, check out my Work With Me page. You can book a FREE 30-minute discovery call with me. We’ll discuss the challenges you’re facing, and talk about how I can help you grow your business.