What comes to mind when you think of the corporate world’s favourite buzzword, ‘networking’? Name tags, awkward small talk, and the post-event flood of overzealous LinkedIn invitations?
Love it or hate it, networking is critical to business success – but it’s much more diverse and easier to approach than you may think.
Let’s myth-bust some of the perceived barriers to successful networking and help get you and your business out there.
MYTH: Networking = attending a formal ‘networking’ event
Your local business community can be a powerful and mutually beneficial source of support and advice and is well worth your time and investment.
Nadia Tucker, co-founder of Active Truth and a recent guest moderator on Council’s Business in Brisbane Facebook group’s Q&A session, credits success through collaboration within her local Nundah business community.
“We believe in the power of collaboration and think it’s really important to support local businesses or other local causes where possible,” she said.
“For example, we have partnered with local fitness groups Fitstop and Ambers Bootcamps to support their work by providing our products as prizes for their competitions.”
“We also consider our local café, Chapel Park, as our second home, hosting many business meetings and coffee catch ups at their relaxing premises.”
Whether it’s introducing yourself to your work neighbours, having a chat to your barista or putting a local business’ flyer up in your front window, it all contributes to building a supportive local business community and network.
MYTH: I need to attend expensive networking events in the city
Did you know that Council hosts a series of Networking in the Suburbs sessions? Small, micro and home-based businesses and entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend, to help build relationships within their local business communities. Best of all, registration is free!
Our next four networking events between now and early September are virtual meetups, making it even easier to pop in and say hello to fellow Brissy business folk. Check out the Council’s business events calendar to find a session.
MYTH: Networking only happens face-to-face
While engaging in-person is hard to top, online is where you can really strengthen those business connections and reach networks you ordinarily wouldn’t.
Council’s Business in Brisbane Facebook group brings local business owners together to access important information and support. Members can stay up-to-date with resources and information from both Council and other reputable organisations, and share their own ideas, ask questions and support each other.
Don’t forget about actively engaging with your local suburb or postcode Facebook community groups. These online communities are an opportunity to promote your business directly to customers and recommend and support other local businesses. They are valuable in helping your local economy thrive, fostering community pride and building brand loyalty.
Visit Facebook to search for your postcode or suburb and find an existing community group (or if there isn’t one, start one yourself!).
LinkedIn is another valuable online networking tool. No matter how small your business, ensure you have an up-to-date business presence, and that your personal profile is updated regularly. You never know who (or what opportunity) might be browsing and stumble upon your details.
MYTH: You’ve got to be an established business with lots to offer, before you start networking
Lacking the confidence or feel you don’t have enough ‘experience’ to network? Imposter syndrome is often the biggest barrier to growing your community and business networks.
Remember, most of your peers have all been in your exact same position at some point in their career, and most are more than willing to share their hard-learned lessons!
The hardest step in progress is often the first, so back yourself and take the plunge.
MYTH: Networking is only done at business networking events
Now, we’re not suggesting you hijack every family BBQ, but if your cousin’s mate is showing more interest in your business chat than the charred steaks, and there’s potential to collaborate or get some valuable advice, don’t be afraid to follow up. The worst someone can say is ‘no thanks’!
Another opportunity for incidental networking can be through training and upskilling sessions. Keep an eye on our free events covering a range of topics, including marketing, business development and business basics by visiting Council’s business events calendar.
Consider these networking myths, busted!
- Check out Council’s comprehensive business support resources
- Subscribe to the Business in Brisbane e-newsletter
- Council’s Business hotline 133 BNE available to take enquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Hear about other local businesses about their coronavirus experiences