We all know that business networking is an important tool in the professional toolbox, but for many of us, honing that tool can be frustrating. Networking requires you to put yourself and your business in front of other people and try to form connections in a short time span. This can be especially nerve-wracking at large workshops or networking events where it’s hard to connect with a crowd of people. As networking has moved into the digital world with restrictions on in-person meetings, a number of benefits have emerged, as well. From smaller meeting groups to the freedom to attend groups outside of your area, virtual networking is an easy, accessible way to expand your business network. Here are three benefits our members have noticed with the transition to Zoom virtual events.
Build a Business Community
Building a strong community is a part of being human. We create communities with our family, with our friends, and live in communities of cities and towns. Building a business community can be just as important for your personal and professional development as a supportive group of family and friends.
Our 4BR member Deb Denker, owner of Unlimited Fervor Coaching & Consulting, appreciates the supportive community she’s found within her group. “Our Parker 4BR group has such amazing energy, encouragement, positive insight and an amazing genuine desire to see each other succeed both personally and professionally. I talk to members of 4BR every day — not just during meetings. For a solo-entrepreneur, I feel like I have a team, and that’s pretty powerful stuff to keep motivation and success amped up.”
While networking has a reputation for being a lot of awkward small talk and handing out business cards to people you may never see again, in reality that doesn’t have to be the case. True business networking is about building relationships and creating a community of other supportive, encouraging professionals who want to see you and your business succeed. This can be especially impactful for entrepreneurs running a business on their own who can benefit from having others to bounce ideas off of or receive feedback from. And with virtual networking, it’s easier than ever to attend networking events and start building your community.
When you can join networking events from the comfort of your own home, there’s less preparation needed to get ready, travel, and to remember to grab your business cards. Spending less time on travel can also open up opportunities to attend more events. When you network online, the whole digital world is your oyster.
One of our 4BR members, Susan Alley of LegalShield, liked the ease of virtual networking so much that she attended virtual events with multiple groups and started building connections with a dozen one-to-one meetings.
“I am really making the best of this time with all the Zooms available and not having to travel. I have been getting on the other group meetings at least 3 to 4 per week.”
More Location Opportunities
When you’re networking from the comfort of your home, there are few limitations on the location of events you attend. This can be very beneficial if you’re looking to expand your business into an area that’s not as close to home or simply want to widen your networking reach. With virtual networking, you aren’t limited to the immediate areas around where you live and work.
That’s not to say that local virtual networking opportunities aren’t an ideal chance to build your business community locally. While networking events are currently happening virtually, many will transition to in-person events down the road or are based on in-person events that have transitioned to digital methods recently. By joining a local virtual networking group, you’re beginning to establish relationships that can translate to in-person interactions in your area.
If you are ready to benefit from virtual networking, join 4BR and find your supportive business community. Join as a member today!