Spreading the word about your product or service is one of the most vital tasks you undertake when running your own business. A crucial and cost-effective way to do this is through networking. However, just the thought of working the room can strike some people with dread, particularly if they are venturing out with a new business. It doesn’t have to be such a concern because the benefits of networking can be enormous, both personally and professionally.
The traditional way of promoting a business has always been through advertising. This has seen a radical shift in recent years. Advertising has its place, but it does have two major drawbacks. It can be extremely expensive, and there is no guarantee that it will bring in any new business. Many magazines are also now choosing to go digital as sales of printed magazines are falling. For someone starting out on a new business this can mean that paid advertising is simply not an option, which begs the question, how do you promote your business?
The rise of social media has opened the door to many new ways of communication. These in turn have led to changes in the way we interact with one another on a professional level. Business associations are now more likely to be made at cocktail receptions than they once were on the golf course.
Within the wedding industry there are many networking opportunities - wedding shows, venue show cases, and product launches. These social occasions are the perfect opportunity to get together with other industry professionals who have the power to recommend your service or product. You have a captive audience, so who better to talk about and promote your business than you?!
Many wedding related business don’t have shops or retail premises, preferring to work from home or studio spaces. Without the daily interaction of customers many business owners can feel isolated from the rest of the industry. Networking therefore, is key to your business and gives you the opportunity to exchange new ideas, and make those important business connections.
In a comfortable networking environment, where you are surrounded by like-minded individuals, it can soon become apparent that most new business is generated through referral. It’s not what you know, but who you know, and a personal recommendation for your business is the greatest compliment.
An integral benefit of membership, and one of our missions as the National Association of Wedding Professionals, is to host effective networking events. The joining criteria for membership ensures that we have high calibre members who run ethical and professional businesses. Networking with like-minded people of equal standing is the most beneficial and effective way of self-promotion, and a wonderful way to refer and form working collaborations. We know that our members benefit enormously from this, and have seen many of their businesses flourish and grow as a result. It’s proof that it works!
Photograph: Toby Lowe Photography
Article Posted: 07/06/2017