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You’ve probably heard that success in business is often more about who you know than what you do. While knowing the right people can launch your business’s success, if you don’t provide a quality product, your success will be limited. 

Developing relationships through networking is one of the most effective ways a business can grow. But how does one start the networking process? And how do you overcome any preconceived notions or anxiety regarding networking? 

We admit that networking isn’t for everyone. There are people who like to meet others and put themselves “out there” and there are others who prefer to be the wizard behind the curtain. Both are perfectly fine and comprise what makes humans so interesting and businesses successful. Yet, if you are looking for a marketing tactic that can bring in big gains, get out there and start networking. 

What is Networking?

Networking is defined as interacting with other people in order to exchange information to develop professional or social contacts. These contacts can help grow your business by referring new prospective business to you. 

To be successful at networking, you have to nurture the relationships you develop. Don’t expect to grow your business after one interaction. Before people are willing to refer others they must know, like and trust you. Think about it. A referral is built on trust that the service you are going to provide is high quality and that the person whom they referred will be treated with respect and integrity. 

All businesses can benefit from networking. People who believe in the work you do are walking billboards for your organization, singing your praises. Whether your business deals in food, healthcare or homes, getting to know others in your community can be an exceptional ingredient in your recipe for success. 

There are many organizations you can join to network and get to know other business leaders in your community. From your local Chamber of Commerce to networking groups dedicated to building referrals among others in the group, such as BNI, try a few out and see what feels most comfortable for you. If you are in Bend, Oregon, check out BNI Wildfire