By Women of West Africa EnterprenuershipNetworking Provides Opportunities: Every time you go to work, go out or invite people into your home you are presented with a unique opportunity; you never know who you might meet or what they might have to offer. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain so you should be open to networking in any situation, not just formal business gatherings. Continue...
Real Life: Author and WOWe woman Seffi Atta describes the advantages of just such a chance encounter “I was lucky to find an agent the day before we moved from New Jersey to Mississippi, July 1, 1997. I had a reading at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in New York and she just walked up to me.”
Networking Provides Contacts and Relationships: Many people say it’s not what you are, but who you know that’ll make the difference in business success and to an extent, they’re right. Most business is done through referrals from people who trust you, so the more positive and healthy relationships you have, the better off you will be overall.
Real Life: Serial entrepreneur and WOWe woman Ronke Ige is a great example of someone who received help with her business when she needed it by actively networking and building relationships with the right people at The Prince’s Trust and now gives back by working as an ambassador for the organisation, networking with young women and connecting them with opportunities.
Networking Provides Exposure: If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, have invented an exciting new product or simply want to boost your existing business, then the more people know about what you’re up to, the better. If you’ve created a good impression, the people you’ve talked to will talk to others creating your personal free marketing machine.
Real Life: Makeup artist and WOWe woman Eryca Freemantle does a huge amount of networking to gain exposure for her All Women of Colour Campaign (the campaign calls on cosmetics companies, major retailers and supermarkets to produce and sell more inclusive beauty products for women of every ethnicity), in fact networking at events was essential from the outset as the campaign was launched at London’s eighth annual Olympia Beauty congress.
Networking Facilitates Learning: When people gather, inevitably information and ideas are exchanged and this can only benefit your business. Ostensibly, the odds are pretty high you might find yourself in the company of an individual with a particularly innovative vision or someone who had a unique set of experiences you can learn from. You never know what concepts you may encounter, so never forget that knowledge is power.
Real Life: Nail Bar CEO and WOWe woman Ameera Abrahams uses networking as a learning tool; whether that’s keeping on top of beauty trends at home and internationally from others in the industry or taking business advice from family members. She says “I’ve learnt a lot of life’s lessons from [my mother] and the other female figures in my life… my uncle plays a major role in my day to day business affairs – especially the aspect of people management. I see him as my database of never ending knowledge.”