Being able to network effectively is a great skill for any business owner to have and networking regularly can really benefit your business.
While networking is often thought of as something job seekers or salespeople do when they are looking for something specific, such as a job or a sales lead, it doesn't have to be. In fact, networking can benefit all types of businesses and business owners. Being able to network and make new connections, even when you don't necessarily need something, can have a positive impact on your business.
Helcim has made a conscious effort to connect with more industry groups, meet more business owners, and attend more events in our community over the past few months. While it has pushed us out of our comfort zone in many ways, we have noticed a few key benefits from putting ourselves out there more often. Here's how networking has benefited our business.
1. Build Your Community
As a business owner, it's easy to end up with blinders on where you're only focused on your business and what is happening inside the walls of your office with your immediate team. While this is completely understandable, and in some cases necessary, you can end up feeling like you're alone on the journey. In reality, there are a lot of people who are going through the same journey as you and facing similar challenges.
Since Helcim has started connecting with more people and businesses, we have met many entrepreneurs who have experienced similar things to us. The people we have met have gone through some of the same difficulties and challenges that Helcim has gone through as we've grown. Recently, Helcim's CEO Nicolas Beique connected with the Co-Owner of Tool Shed Brewing Co, a local craft brewery in Calgary. They shared similar stories of the challenges they faced while growing their respective companies. Although payments and beer are very different industries, many of the issues they faced were the same. You can watch their chat in the Helcim Vlog #24 on Connecting with Other Entrepreneurs.
2. Grow Your Business
Going to networking or industry events without a specific plan or intention doesn't mean that you won't end up gaining a sale or generating leads. By connecting with people in person and sharing your personal story and mission with them, you increase the likelihood of them expressing interest in your business. The interaction might event result in them providing personal referrals.
Networking events are a great way to do word-of-mouth marketing for your business. They can provide an opportunity for you to make connections and build relationships with people who will hopefully become brand advocates for you and your business. It also gives you a chance to get real-time feedback from your peers on your business messaging and products. Use networking events as a chance to unofficially survey your marketplace. If you're attending a lot of events and notice people aren't aware of your business or haven't heard of your products, that may be a sign that you need to get out in your community more often.
Helcim has been partnering with like-minded organizations, such as Startup Grind YYC and ACE Class, to make connections with other local business owners. The partnerships have also helped increase Helcim's profile in our community. You can see an overview of the first Startup Grind YYC event the Helcim team attended where CEO Nicolas Beique was a speaker on our YouTube channel.
3. Provide Inspiration
Almost everyone has heard the saying "˜think outside the box.' While clichÃ©, it can help your business identify new avenues or opportunities when you're feeling stuck. Thinking outside the box is a lot easier to do when you're bringing in outside opinions and feedback. Networking is a great way to get this feedback and identify alternative ways to approach business challenges. It helps to expose you to other peoples' thought processes and ways of doing things. Learning about how other business owners have built their businesses can help you grow and expand your own business.
Helcim has made a point to connect with some of the other great businesses in our community. The team has attended structured events such as Chic Geek and Startup Grind but also more informal meetings and networking events. Helcim's CEO often sets up meetings with other business owners to share his knowledge and experiences and to learn from others. You can keep up with our latest meetings in our Merchants of Helcim video series, where we visit some of our merchants and see what they're up to.
Networking might feel uncomfortable at first, and we know it can be difficult to put yourself out there. But pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can really benefit your business and after a few events, it will get easier.