While the concept, and need for networking still exists, the methods have changed to meet the needs of today’s socially driven business market. According to Fox News, the power of networking is “invaluable”, as it functions as a method of marketing for business owners and business representatives in general. Leaders should view networking as self-development, and an opportunity to build industry knowledge and share personal industry experience. Networking also offers leaders the opportunity to interact with industry peers, seek out potential job candidates, develop partnerships, seek out future business opportunities, and study industry competition. In the current job market, networking can have lasting benefits for those who are experiencing a career transition or are seeking new employment.
To begin the journey into networking, the goal is to find like-minded individuals in a common industry or industry you seek to enter. Individuals in the same industry offer experience and
possibly new innovation that will help take your organization to the next level. Seek out industry groups or membership-run organizations whose purpose is to function as a networking tool. For those that do not reserve the time for networking events in person, websites like Linkedin offer easy web-based solutions for networking. Membership opportunities offered by general networking organizations (not specific to industry) can serve as a tool for gaining general business knowledge for your state, city or county. An example of a general business networking organization is the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.
Networking in today’s business market is much different when comparing networking methods used 20 years ago. While there has been change in the methods used, the concept of socilizing with industry peers is the same. With the increased use of internet and online marketing, networking has taken a stroll on the social scene. Some of the perks offered with membership to a networking organization include access to white papers, industry guides and best practices, invitations and discounts to conferences, and access to online social mediums which offer further opportunities for networking.
Why should leaders network?
While some see networking as a tedious task, the benefits rest high on the return. This type of self-development ensures that the leader is always at the forefront of market demands and trends. This ultimately transcends to a more knowledgeable position in providing leadership within the organization.
Local tools and websites to begin networking today:
- Arizona Business Alliance
- Arizona Small Business Association
- Business Network International
- Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
- Phoenix Business Journal