Some small business owners make the mistake of keeping their cards close to their chest, opting to shy away from other individuals in their industry for fear of being copied or used. Whilst this concern is understandable, it’s not always prudent to cut oneself off from one’s peers entirely as there are plenty of valuable opportunities to be missed. No one is saying that you should start handing out copies of your business plan to competitors but often taking an active role in your business community can lead to opportunities that far outweigh any risks.
Learn From Others’ Mistakes
For example, when it comes to advice and problem solving, 1000 heads are always better than 1. It’s so useful to be able to draw on the experiences of the many rather than having to suffer through trial and error alone, making mistakes that others could have warned you about. Online networks such as the BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group are a great source of advice and support from like-minded people, whether you need to ask for guidance on a particular issue or just want reassurance that you’re on the right track. They’re also a smart way to stay abreast of the latest industry developments and news, training opportunities and promotions, savings and discounts.
Give to Receive
Rather than thinking, ‘What can I get out of this situation?’, when in a networking group, online or otherwise, it is often a much more pleasurable experience when we instead ask ourselves, ‘What value can I offer here?’. This approach to networking is often more rewarding, not just figuratively but literally too. Often when you’re able to help someone to have a great experience, be it a helpful recommendation, a top business tip or a useful contact, they are much more likely to remember you than if you only approach them to sell your services. So helping others is not just about good karma but building a memorable reputation within that community.
BAPIA members training and networking at the recent BAPIA Chris Adamo cba Tour
Tap Into Insider Knowledge
Don’t forget to network outside of your established networking group too. What may have struck you as idle chit chat with a supplier, whilst they unload your stock, may lead to you finding out about a great business opportunity that you didn’t even know existed. As the saying goes, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, so always keep your ear to the ground and if you have something great to offer or are in need of something, don’t be afraid to spread the word.
BAPIA members, remember to tag us in your posts using #bapiaparty so that we can see and share your great work!