Have you ever gotten the feeling that your business is treading water? You’re doing well enough but the trajectory is flat. How can you get yourself out of this feeling that you’ve plateaued? The answer may simply be a Google search away.
Most of us use social media in our daily lives. We go on Facebook to see what our old high school friends are up to and who recently had a child. Twitter is like watching the news. We can stay up to date on the day’s events in real time. Pinterest seems like a great place to find recipe ideas. But don’t dismiss social media as simply commercialized juggernauts for sharing one’s personal thoughts. Beyond the big players there are professional networking platforms popping up that specialize in helping business owners like yourself who need some assistance taking the next big step.
How is a professional networking platform different from your run of the mill social media site or app? Here are a few reasons why you should invest in joining one of these professional networks.
When it comes to business, no matter the field you work in, a crucial skill to have is focus and eliminating “noise.” Anything that is a distraction and doesn’t actually affect your business is costing you time. Yes, this is where the idiom “time is money” will be invoked. But, like many sayings, there is truth to it. While you already have an established business, it should be noted professionals in general are seeing the benefits of joining these specialized networks. Studies show 67% of job seekers found a professional network was important to their career progression. 69% of business owners found Facebook and Twitter to be lacking in the usefulness department; regarding the sites as just for personal use. When you join a professional networking platform you know you’re surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals that are there for one reason only: Results.
When you join a professional network you won’t just be interacting with professionals from your industry. One would think that if you’re a dentist, for example, you would want to pick the brains of other dentists to see how they’re finding success in the locations they serve. Yes, you can use your network this way.
However, you may find that solutions can present themselves from sources you haven’t consider before. If for example, you run an ecommerce business, you can learn what consumers are looking for based on what other industries are doing. The biggest opportunity for growth can be found in content marketing. If you can join a professional network that includes marketers, you can learn quite a bit no matter what industry you are in. The principles of content marketing can benefit real estate agents, healthcare professionals, lawyers, and more.
You may find that by speaking with experts in other fields you’ll completely change your approach of doing outreach and marketing. Your old strategies have gotten you this far. It’s time to get to that next level.
Your professional network is also a place where you may be able to find clients. This can happen both directly and indirectly. You may be able to cross market your services and tap other professionals to actually become your clients.
The other possibility is getting referrals from professionals in unrelated industries. For example, if you’re a marketing consultant, you may find realtors that could use your services. Through networking, the people they’re selling property to may be business owners themselves who never considered hiring a marketing professional before. It’s with these offhand leads where you can start finding untapped markets. If you feel like you’ve exhausted your leads, a professional network can be a great place to start ramping up again.
Up until now we’ve focused on bottom line and the dollar. But, it can’t be overstated how important it is to have a support system for when things get overwhelming. As a business owner, you know what true stress feels like. You can be discouraged by mounting costs, client demands, and the effort that needs to constantly be put in to running a business. Wouldn’t you want to be in contact with other professionals who know exactly what you’re feeling and going through? Sometimes all it takes is a sympathetic ear with practical advice to get your head back in the game.
As you can see, there are many benefits to joining a professional networking platform. If you’re in need of a new direction for your business or just need others to brainstorm with, a professional social network could be the solution you’ve been looking for.