As a small business owner, networking is critical for the survival and growth of your business. By networking, you can create business opportunity, expand your knowledge base, and open an avenue for growth. According to HubSpot, 85% of people say in-person meetings and conferences let them build more meaningful business relationships.
And in an ecosystem where the line between competitor and partner is blurred and business partnerships are integral to the success of many businesses; there is more opportunity than ever to learn from other small business owners.
Here is how networking can benefit you and your business:
Understand the local landscape
If you are opening your first business or franchising into a new geography, you are likely unfamiliar with the local code compliance. Regulations can vary from state to state, however, the certificates on your checklist should include a business license, a building license, a food safety certification, a liquor license, and potentially a sidewalk permit. Local business owners know the ins and outs of their city, and by leaning the local landscape, you can save yourself time and money by connecting with neighboring businesses.
Small business cross-promotion is a great way to get introduced to a new customer base. And by collaborating with the right business, you can improve your bottom line, and save you and your business time. Create an exclusive offer for both your stores and advertise it in-store, online, and on local community boards. By doing this you can increase revenue, and introduce new customers to your store.
According to an American Express survey, 9 out of 10 respondents believe it is important to support local small business, with 73% saying they make an effort to shop locally. Being known in the local community is important to your credibility and brand identity. By connecting with your local community, you will increase customer retention as well as walk-in sales.
Stay involved with local business community groups and chambers of commerce in your city. Joining these communities is a great way to boost your brand and presence in the community. Further, shoppers often seek out local businesses through online directories, so make sure to turn up in their search!