Many small, micro and home-based business operators are well aware of the benefits of networking with other businesses. Along with meeting new people and perhaps learning from networking event guest speakers, other benefits include building professional relationships with potential clients, suppliers and resources, colleagues, fans and friends. Not to mention getting yourself and your business known in the community.
With all of the technological advances in communications, people are now becoming ever more connected, particularly on the Internet.
And with this advancement in Internet technology comes the ability for businesses to network online too. This could be via:
- social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook
- forums and groups such as the Small Business Forum or Flying Solo
- attending webinars (web seminars)
Online networking boosts the variety your network
Online networking gives entrepreneurs a chance to develop relationships with several other entrepreneurs at one time. They can meet several people and communicate in a wider way than face to face networking. In online networking, many different industries and companies are represented within the group.
Online networking saves time and effort for busy entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are able to reach the world from their own computer through online networking. Utilising the Internet allows professionals to attend online networking avenues much easier than if they attend physical events … all from the comfort of their own home, often at any time of the day from any location and without the need to get dressed up (unless you’re using videos and web-cams!)
Along with benefiting an entrepreneur’s professional and social growth, online networking offers flexibility. Not only does this make it easier to manage how you prioritise your time, it’s also ideal for business owners in small towns and regional or remote areas who may otherwise find business networking a challenge.
Online networking can also be a viable alternative for parents who work from home while caring for children. It’s often difficult for this group of business owners to attend face-to-face networking events without also having to arrange suitable child-care. The cost and effort involved sometimes limits the number of events that they can physically get to.
I’m not suggesting that online networking should entirely take the place of face-to-face networking events, but there are some definite advantages for most businesses to incorporate a little of both.
If you know any worthwhile online networking sites for small, micro and home-based businesses, please share them with us via a comment post 🙂