Well I started to network because the majority of my business is done remotely from home, It was a business choice and a family choice, it means one of us is here to do the day to day activities and be there for our son. It would make more financial sense to both be out on contracts 5 days a week, however we feel a balance in what we do and development of the family unit is just as important as putting food on the table or buying a better car etc.
So in 2014 I was working away generating a decent living from my desk whilst my wife and co-director was doing the main activity working across the Uk and Europe. I was sat there looking around wondering why I felt so low when I really had no need to be. The realisation was I needed some social interaction, did not really frequent the Pub a traditional place to socialise, I was not going to a regular place of work. So from day to day week to week the only real company I had, was a funny little jack Russell called Ned.
So I decided to go networking just to get out of the house not looking to grow my business but to spend a couple of hours with like minded people get my brain working and I may actually learn something from the experience. if I did get some business well bonus, but that was not my primary objective.
I cannot express in words really how it has affected me but I will try, I have met some amazing business owners, felt a sense of worth belonging and pleased to say now have some wonderful friends. There is no substitute for meeting people face to face, yes social media is great but something is missing which us humans crave, other humans in our presence not a digital representation of them.
I have also discovered where I now want my business to go and what even better I've got a network of people that can help me get there either free advice, yes people do help you sometimes freely. There are people I respect and have gladly paid for their professional services.
I've been reading a superb book "Business networking for Dummies' written by Stefan Thomas , it's really easy to read with plenty of hints and tips for the virgin and seasoned Networker and how you should approach it, I am pleased to say the way I had naturally approached it now I have some added bits I was not doing. I saw him speaking at a networking event funnily enough and just had to buy his book.
As a result of Networking I've taken my business in a different direction and working with some amazing associates, people I trust and respect. We are planning and developing workshop days for businesses or individuals that don't have the specific departments in their businesses, ranging from demystifying quality improvements, process mapping, safety risk assessment and HR. Things that business looking to improve or grow can benefit from without spending thousands every year on the dedicated teams. Makes sense to us and were looking forward to helping businesses gain a cutting edge against their competition. Due to the Network I am involved with it's going to be easy to tailor specific workshops pulling in Social Media experts, commercial accountants branding experts. The list is endless and all I will have personally got to know liked and trusted that's just amazing after all my business and brand is very important to me.
So is networking worth doing in this digital age, you better believe it, it's probably more crucial now with so many of us working in isolation in our home offices. People need people, businesses need people. So if you're in business or sat at home feeling something is missing de social media yourself for a few hours a week and shake someone hand drink a coffee and be human it will change what you do and how you feel. I am still on a journey in life and in my business and I am so glad I step through the door to my first event nervous but worth it. Read Stefan's book it will help.
Like everyone I love feedback so please drop a comment and even better share this with someone else especially someone like me sat at Home you could change their life literally.