Having a good network of contacts has always been important for any facet of life. But, in particular, they are especially essential for the development of business activities. Business contacts have become even more important in recent years as the pandemic and COVID-19 have moved many offices into homes with telecommuting. Growing a business is essential, and Allen Woo, an expert in the field, explains why networking plays a critical role in that process.
“Contacts in the business world are made up of the people we know,” Woo explains. “In the case of the business network, we are talking about those people who are customers, distributors, investors, etc. But, also part of our indirect network are the people who are known to our direct contacts, and who could be our customers, distributors or investors in the future.”
According to the six degrees of separation theory, everyone in the world is connected by only five intermediaries. Therefore, the network of contacts can be infinite, in the sense that it is possible to meet anyone if you follow the thread of contacts.
Knowing the right people in the market is fundamental for any business because it is the source of business relationships. The key to working a company’s network of contacts is to actively engage in relationships.
“In recent years, we have witnessed that networking is the most effective way to build business relationships,” Woo points out. “There is no doubt that networking events are the biggest generator of business opportunities currently available to entrepreneurs in the province.”
It should be clear that business networking is like a living organism. An organism that needs the food that new relationships give it to be properly nourished. That is why it is important to attend these events where meeting other entrepreneurs is the main objective.
Investing time and resources in taking care of the relationships that have been established through social events will be the key to going from being “just another contact card” to a business relationship with a future. If you only think about what the contacts are capable of or how they can benefit a company, the relationships will not last long. You need to contribute to making those relationships fruitful in a reciprocal way.
Woo suggests, “In addition to nurturing the contacts we already have with time, resources, and value, we need to keep growing our list. One effective way is to increase our circle by adding acquaintances of our acquaintances to our business network.”
In addition to networking, the best way to increase business contacts is to stand out, and the best way to do that is by enhancing brand reputation and visibility. In some companies, there is a service dedicated to improving the visibility and notoriety of the partners. With this reputation booster, entrepreneurs can stand out. The result is a call effect for new clients and collaborators, and a clear increase in the network of business contacts of the partners.
Another reason why networking is so important is that you never know where you will end up professionally and with whom. More contacts guarantee better relationships in the future.
Relationships change and it is not possible to know what position a person will occupy in the future. “Maybe we are the bridge of contacts that have supported us in our professional beginnings,” adds the expert.
Likewise, creating a network of contacts is important for anyone who wants to find a job or get a better one than the one they already have. It is clear that it is not the same to be one of the hundreds or even thousands of candidates who send their résumés to companies, as it is to meet directly the person who can open the door to that new opportunity.
In addition, there are certain companies that prefer to have employees who are able to relate and create a network of contacts with other workers or customers using networking. Even before forming a network of contacts of your own, it will serve to better understand the world of work and what is the most convenient option.