Why we need to build business relationships.

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024 | Helpful tips for tourism operators

September 19, 2023

Have you ever wondered why business owners spend so much time networking? Why do we go to business breakfasts and lunches to talk to other business owners?

I know from my experience that until you actually start building  your own network of business owners you don’t see the value in it. 

A former boss and business partner of mine has always had the view that networking was a waste of time and not really worth the effort. He thought you were only networking to build your own brand aka. “Brand Sarah” He never saw the value in connecting with others or working collaboratively. 

To a certain degree he is right. However he missed the most important step in networking, building a network. So  when I network I am not building “ Brand Sarah” I am building “Network Sarah”.

Why do I need a business network?

Well there are a lot of really good reasons but here are my tops ones

  1. Education when you have a network of people you learn from each other. You share your experiences, you share your knowledge and what has worked  or not worked in your business. When you listen to what others say you can pick up so many tips and tricks. There is not a business owner on the planet that knows every tiny detail, legality, Human Resources hack or technology to support business. So you learn it from other people’s Experiences. 
  1. Connections – when you have a network you have a web of connections. Then as you need assistance or a referral you go to the best person or people in your network and you ask them. That way you cut through all the time and energy it takes to do the research yourself and you cut straight through to someone who has been used before and has been recommended. 
  1. Business Improvement having a network and interacting with them on a regular basis provides you with insights, ideas and new technologies you can use in your business. So many times I have looked at what others are doing in their businesses and thought “ that’s a great idea. I can do something like that in my business. It’s a very powerful tool to be able to see inside other people’s businesses and get ideas. 
  1. Emotional support and stress relief – being in business can be very hard and very lonely. I know a lot of lonely old men who are stale in business because they don’t connect, engage and build networks. When you connect and engage with others you know you’re not alone, you can share your problems, concerns and just feel like you belong and you are on the right track. I feel this is one of the most beneficial reasons to have a network. 
  1. Law of Attraction and a positive, professional mindset -. I believe in the  law of attraction – what you give out you get back. When you are surrounded by good supportive people in your network you reflect that. It builds positive energy towards you and your business.  People are attracted to positive, open, friendly energy, so what you give out returns to you multiplied therefore the most successful people are those that believe in themselves and belief in the people around them. Give out what you want back. Success breeds success. 
  1. Collaboration builds business. By getting together and working with businesses in your industry, your area or your professional network you help build each other up. Work together to provide complementary services, refer business to each other and recommend clients so your clients feel looked after and cared for.

Everyone has their own journey in life and their own experience.

Life is about people and the shared experiences.Therefore if you are on the planet to experience it and enjoy it I would recommend you start building relationships and connecting with others. You never know when you will need a superstructure. 

My former boss / business partner was someone who never evolved and never created a great network. When you meet him he comes across relaxed, calm and quite nice however unless he can see an angle in which he can work with you he really doesn’t bother building a relationship. He sees it as a waste of time. I have known him for 14 or so years and it’s always been the same way. 

During COVID his businesses were wiped out, he lost so much and had no real network of people or business owners to turn to for help. Had he seen the value in building a network he would have had a much better support network during that very difficult period. People support people who support them and work with them. When times are tough you need people so take the time and invest it in the people around you. 

When I look back on it, it makes me laugh. I remember we had a sales manager who knew everyone. You walked in a room with Peter and every person knew him. He spent a massive amount of time networking the industry. The boss always criticized him saying “he is out building brand Peter again” what he never realised is that with all the ups and downs of life and business Peter built a solid network of people who he works with to support and who support him. Now Peter runs a very successful business because he supports others and they support him. 

Conclusion

A few ways you can start building your network;

  • Join the chamber of commerce in your area. 
  • Join a professional development group of business owners
  • Support your industry events and workshops 
  • Volunteer where you know other business owners will be

A few things to remember;

  • It’s a long term relationship you are building
  • You don’t need to have an agenda to build a relationship
  • Listen and learn  – two ears, one mouth. 
  • What you put in you get back, so be open, friendly, supportive and professional.  

The key is to start somewhere. Go to a networking breakfast, join the chamber of commerce and before you know it you will be building your network in no time at all. 

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