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The thinking for many people around the world is that the only time networking is important is when you are job searching. This is not all correct as networking is very crucial for business owners as well.

Growing your business could be a bit more difficult when you lack a good network of contacts and connections. Networking not only puts you in front of other business leaders in the community, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet potential clients face to face so you can sell yourself and your business to them.

Even with LinkedIn, IG Stories, Alignable, Facebook Live and the latest social media platforms, face-to-face interaction is key for building trust. Making a personal connection with eye contact, a bow, a handshake or even a fist bump, and solid conversation is still the most powerful networking. This will be most beneficial to small and local business owners. By growing your network, opportunities arise, business partners appear, connections are made and trust is garnered in a local community.

Here are some of the reasons why networking is important for your small business:

> Small business success. Start small as your business grows. Whether you’re an online company or a local establishment, networking is the main key to success for your small business. Small or upstart companies need local support and putting yourself out there is the best way to get it.

> Creating connections. Mastering the art of starting a conversation, asking engaging questions, and creating new connections is key not only for successful networking but for all business relationships.

> Opportunities. It is only natural that networking will result in opportunities. Whether it’s a referral, offer partnership or request for your service or product; it is important to be ready to recognize opportunities when they come along.

> Business leads. One of the best ways to acquire new and genuine business leads is via networking. Using the contacts you make when you meet people can open doors for business opportunities.

Having said all that, networking can open the door to talk to highly influential people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily talk to or find. So go ahead and put yourself and your business out there.

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