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The Benefits of Networking with Other Local Small Business Owners
  • 01 May 2017
  • Eric Michaels

The Benefits of Networking with Other Local Small Business Owners

Your local community is likely full of entrepreneurs who are working hard to advance their businesses while juggling their personal responsibilities. However, you may not be taking advantage of this potential network of peers because you are so focused on your work. Try not to succumb to this tunnel vision. Instead, make an effort to meet occasionally with like-minded entrepreneurs in your community. Here are some benefits of networking with local business owners.

1. Avoiding common mistakes

Most entrepreneurs can probably think of a list of mistakes they made when they first launched their business. Whether you priced your first products too high or you skimped on technology, these types of errors could haunt your company for years. By talking to other business owners in your community about their experiences and the lessons they have learned over time, you can work to avoid making the same mistakes. This advice could save you time and money down the line.

2. Learning the local ropes

From Manhattan to Topeka, businesses around the country face local regulatory hurdles. As such, entrepreneurs need to acquire specific, location-based permits and licenses in order to stay compliant with the law. This process becomes much less intimidating when you know someone who has gone through the system already. A business owner in your area will be able to tell you whom to call and where to go as you get started. Any little bit of help can calm your nerves and lower your stress level as you try to open your business in a timely fashion.

3. Establishing community bonds

If you plan to do business in your community for the foreseeable future, you should start building bonds immediately. Other business owners in your area will be able to introduce you to important figures in your town. This list may include elected officials, individuals who operate charities or people who are involved in the local school system. These connections will come in handy as you build a life in the area, but they will also be good for business. You never know: A parent of a player on the Little League team you sponsor might become your next customer.

4. Running joint promotions

Sometimes, two businesses are a great marketing match for one another. For example, a specialty meat purveyor has every reason to team up with a local wine shop on regular promotions. However, you might not meet that perfect partner unless you take the time to do some proper networking.

5. Giving and receiving referrals

You can also leverage your relationships with other local business owners to give and receive referrals. If a customer wanders into your store looking for a product or service that you do not offer, you should take advantage of this opportunity to pass the customer along to another local establishment. As soon as you make your first referral, your local contact will begin thinking of ways to repay the favor. By working together in this way, you can both benefit from increased sales.

6. Paving the path for your next venture

There is no telling what exciting new ideas two entrepreneurs can come up with together. Your combined experience in town is sure to yield insights on what people in the community want. After regular meetups with other business owners, you might be able to get the feedback you need to establish the next essential product or service in your community.

It is always beneficial to take advantage of an opportunity to network with other business owners in your local area. Even when you feel as if you have no time, you should try to block off a section of your week to connect with your peers.

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