If you have any doubts about the value of networking, you need to read this.
A popular UK television program called The Last Millionaire highlights the value of networking for small businesses. It's a reality show where entrepreneurs are sent to foreign cities with limited cash and resources, and the person who makes the most money each week from a new start-up venture is the winner.
In the final episode, two entrepreneurs - Lucy and Natalie, find themselves in a hostel in Hong Kong. They have five days to create and sell a product, and their only available resource (apart from a small sum of cash) is a list of students they can call on for help.
Natalie contacts the students. But Lucy heads online and gets in touch with the president of one of the city's leading business networking groups. She is invited to give a presentation at one of their meetings, and within days she has drummed up a referral to one of Hong Kong's top manufacturers, who is keen to work with Lucy on a new range of shirts she has designed.
Who won? Not surprisingly, Lucy, whose business earnings ended up being 16 times the value of her start-up capital.
Okay, this is reality television and it's made to entertain. But the program reinforces the value of networking. In business, who you know can be as important as what you know, and networking can make a valuable difference in more ways than one.
A source of referrals
First and foremost, networking is a source of low cost referrals. More than just being inexpensive, referrals are a far more powerful form of marketing for your business than paid advertising.
Do be prepared to view a network relationship as a two-way street though. You need to actively send referrals to network partners in order to expect referrals to come your way.
Access an even bigger network
Networking can have a way of snowballing. After all, you are not just connecting with one person in isolation. Your network partners will already have a network of their own that you can tap into. It's an effective way to rapidly broaden your contacts.
Tap into the skills of many
As many Mortgage Choice franchisees know, running a business calls for skills and knowledge across multiple areas. Having connections with like-minded entrepreneurs opens the door to a vast wealth of experience and professional expertise. These are people you can turn to for advice and professional insights - or who you can bounce ideas off. These are benefits that shouldn't be underestimated in today's complex business environment.
A door to opportunities
Network partners don't just provide referrals, they may also be a source of other opportunities like an invitation to share office space or explore mutually beneficial investments. They may ask you to be a keynote speaker at public events, or share display space at trade shows. Seizing these opportunities can underpin the growth of your business.
One of the advantages Mortgage Choice franchisees enjoy is the value of a well-known brand. This doesn't just resonate with consumers, the quality of the Mortgage Choice brand opens doors when it comes to networking – and that can give your business a critical head start.
To discover more about the benefits of joining an industry leader by becoming a Mortgage Choice franchisee, call us today on 1300 650 330.