Growing a business isn’t a simple task. Expanding the enterprise must be a consistent process, whether it is starting or established. One way to achieve this is by hosting networking events.
You may have heard of networking events or have attended one. However, you haven’t tried hosting one for your company yet. While attending networking events can make your business known, hosting them may double the benefits.
Hosting a networking event can be daunting, especially when operating on a budget. Don’t worry, because this occasion doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be grand. Here, we outline what networking events mean, how to organise them, and the benefits you can reap for your business growth.
1. What are networking events, and how do you organise one?
Networking events are gatherings designed for business professionals and industry experts to engage and establish professional connections. The number of attendees can range from 50 to thousands, depending on how big or small the event will be. There will also be keynote speakers that lead discussions about specific topics, and you could be one of them when you’re the event’s host.
If you plan to host a networking event, here’s how to organise one:
- Outline your budget and resources.
- Define the event’s purpose (e.g., hosting lectures, fundraising, recruiting, connecting professionals of the same demographic).
- Determine the target audience.
- Choose a format (casual or formal).
- Set the date(s) to check the availability of your chosen venue.
- Book the venue. Hotel lobbies are ideal for small to mid-sized gatherings, while community halls or convention centres are for workshops and lectures.
- Send out invitations to those you wish to participate.
- Promote the event on social media, in emails, or in whichever way you like. However, in doing this, you must ensure the protection of your company data while using the world wide web. Installing an enterprise VPN could be your remedy for this.
Include pre-registration details to determine how much food and chairs are needed. Managing these ticketing and registration systems can be time-consuming. So rather than wasting time on creating separate forms, you can have a mini-site done with built-in widgets for ticketing and pre-registration. You can go for this mobile-friendly and straightforward option or you can opt for a complete website for an advanced option, where you can also embed your registration widget.
During the event, you will facilitate the interactions and provide food and drinks to the attendees. Afterwards, you must follow them up to get feedback.
2. The benefits of hosting networking events
Knowing what you need and how to fuel business growth is substantial. At the same time, knowing who can help you achieve it is equally essential. This is how hosting networking events establishes valuable business connections. With that in mind, here are the other benefits of hosting a networking event.
Enhancing brand awareness
Brand awareness is a critical aspect of business growth. When you host a networking event, participants become aware of your company name, elevating your brand’s awareness.
Brand awareness is your company’s recognition among professionals in the industry. Hosting networking events can enhance this aspect through efficient marketing and promotional efforts. Additionally, you can interact with your guests to talk about your brand during the event.
Meeting potential mentor
When planning a networking event, one of the things you’ll likely consider is inviting speakers. They are often industry experts and can be your mentors. You can also interact with potential mentors among the guests. These people are like-minded professionals who can provide wisdom, motivation, and knowledge to influence your business’s growth.
Exchange of ideas
No matter your business situation, you can meet people who went through your current position at your networking events. They can give you fresh ideas and different perspectives on overcoming it, and you can give them significant knowledge to help them progress. With this, your networking events are great opportunities to exchange ideas and learn from them.
Creating jobs and opportunities
When you host networking events, you’re opening your business to collaborations, sponsorships, and partnerships. Engaging with various business professionals can form these connections, which expand your contacts, attract new ventures, and help you find more clients. This way, your company can develop more innovations and gain revenue, significantly impacting business growth.
If you hold a career-related networking event, job seekers can attend and acquire insights on how to build their profiles. They may also be able to familiarise themselves with the potential careers you offer, so when you create job openings, your company will be the first to come to mind.
Building social skills
Social skills are a must for every business owner. When hosting networking events, you will need them all the time. Your networking events can help if you need to improve your social skills. As the host, you will push yourself to talk to the guests, gradually building your confidence and speaking abilities.
Good communication and public speaking skills can help you attract support from the guests. You can attain this through intelligent persuasion, influencing their opinions and perceptions of your business. Additionally, you can convey your company’s purpose and vision intelligently, which is valuable in enticing potential investors and business partners.
Adept social skills also help avoid misunderstandings. Since you can see commonalities in various perspectives, you can promote insightful discussions about business matters. To build these connections after the event, you may also tell your guests that they can follow up with people through email after networking events.
Finding new talents
Let’s say one of your employees resigned, or you had to lay off a few. That could be a significant loss for your company’s daily operations. This is how hosting a networking event opens the prospect of hiring new talents, especially when you struggle to fill the vacancies left.
Since networking events can be an opportunity to start recruitment campaigns, you can showcase your company to talented professionals. Showcasing means elaborating on why your company is the ideal workplace to utilise and foster their skills.
Providing insights on your business performance
Networking events can help you measure your business’s performance in the industry. Talking to guests or spearheading an open forum can provide feedback and insights on your company’s current position in a competitive market. These insights can indicate strengths to continue and weaknesses to improve.
3. Start hosting networking events to expand your business
If you seek innovative platforms to expand your business, try hosting networking events. They are great avenues to expand your business horizons and ensure your company’s progress. The good thing is that they don’t have to be luxurious, which is ideal for small businesses. Even a small-scale networking event is a meaningful step towards growth and long-term success.