Are business networking events a good use of your time?
We’ve all heard the saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, haven’t we? It’s certainly true that well connected people often seem to find their routes to success in life come much easier. But what if you don’t happen to be as well connected as those around you? Perhaps you have moved around a lot in life and have therefore left good connections behind you along the way, or perhaps you aren’t fortunate enough to have good family connections. What can you do to meet and connect with the right people?
In situations like these, many people turn to business networking events as the answer to their woes. They hope that by attending one of these events they will kick start their business and propel it into the stratosphere. But is this really the case? Are networking events really a good use of your time? In my opinion I would say that networking events can certainly be useful, but as a rider to this I would also say that it is important that you attend the right networking events. What do I mean by this?
What are your networking goals?
The first thing you need to consider when trying to find the right networking events is what you are hoping to achieve by attending such events. Are you looking to connect with like-minded people, so that you can bounce ideas off of one another? Or, are you instead looking to find new customers and clients for your business? If you are a web designer for example, and you are looking to find new customers for whom you can build a new custom website, it may not be a wise use of your time to attend a networking event that is primarily aimed at attracting fellow web designers. It may be very beneficial however to attend a networking event aimed at those people who are looking to move or grow their business online. The opportunity to gain new clients at an event like this would likely be ample and it may be the best few hours you have ever spent.
Could your time be better spent?
As we have just mentioned, some networking events can be productive and rewarding, while others can be less so. The key is to recognise early on which events are working well for you and then not to waste any more of your precious time attending events which are of no real worth to you or your business. When you run a business, time is extremely precious and making good use of it is vital for your continued success. If your time could be better spent focusing on other aspects of your business or other marketing activities, then it is important to take action and quickly prioritise your time elsewhere.
Sometimes you have to try it to find out
So if you are thinking of attending some business networking events the important things to remember are these. Think about what you are trying to achieve by attending these events and try to put yourself and your business in front of the right people. It is true that this is easier said than done at times and sometimes you may have to attend an event in order to know whether it is worthwhile or not, but if you do come across a time waster then be sure to pick up on this and spend your precious time elsewhere in future.
Have you had any good or bad experiences with business networking events you would like to share?