It is easy to forget in today’s digital age that face-to-face networking is still a large part of conducting business. One should not easily discount the effect that interpersonal relationships can have when trying to reach new clients and grow one’s business.

Networking is even more important for SMEs and start-ups. Such companies are monumentally dwarfed by large corporations and MNCs in terms of manpower and resources. As such, SMEs need every little advantage they can get, gaining contacts through networking being one of them. Making the effort to meet people and make connections can lead to major payoff as well as potentially opening up the door to new opportunities.

Contacts that you make when you meet people are not just for understanding the trends around the industry, they are also potential business leads. By communicating professionally and being sensitive to timing and common courtesy, SMEs will find that more often than not, your contacts will come back to you eventually if they have need of the services that you explained to them during your face-to-face meeting.

By building a network of contacts, SMEs can also learn to identify industry best practices and new business trends. This is valuable information especially if said SME has yet to nail down a clear target market. These types of relationships and “inside” information can give you an advantage over your competitors by implementing new and fresh ways of doing things.

The old adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is most definitely true; especially in terms of building a successful business. By having a strong source of relevant contacts, SMEs can potentially open the door to high profile and influential people that would otherwise be hard to find or contact.

Industry exhibitions and networking events are good places to start building one’s catalogue of contacts. One such example is the recently held BNI Miracle Chapter networking event that was recently held in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Events such as these gather hundreds of like-minded individuals who are more than happy to help each other expand their network of contacts and potential clients/partners.

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