Why You Shouldn't Forget About Local Networking

Pursuing business success compels entrepreneurs to expand their reach far and wide while in search of expansive growth. There are a variety of digital platforms that make it easy to connect to both people and companies globally. Even so, it’s easy for them to forget that while it’s great to expand across the globe and reach new markets, there’s still huge value in local networking.

If you're an entrepreneur running a small business or even a manager in a multinational corporation, networking is irreplaceable. Global markets are alluring, but you might be overlooking the ample opportunities within your local community. It’s easy to forget that with a broader and more global reach comes higher costs and more stress on your business to maintain that reach. Lower costs and less stress are just some of the benefits of networking locally that we’ll discuss in this article.

The Power of Face-to-Face

One of the most obvious (and important) benefits of local networking is the ability to benefit from face-to-face interactions. I know what you’re thinking: this is old-fashioned in a digital age. The truth is, the impact of physical presence is massive exactly because of the digital age. 

With a personal encounter, you’re going to have more in-depth conversations, you’re going to build trust and stronger relationships too. If you can take the time to attend local conferences and networking events, you gain the chance to meet your next client or partner, along with bumping into possible influencers in your industry. This is crucial to remember when networking as a small business owner.

Understand Your Community

The best way to gain a deep understanding of your community and its needs is to be part of that community. Local networking can only be effective if you’re willing to immerse yourself. This is how you gain a level of insight that helps you tailor your product or service to meet local demands. Or maybe you need to identify gaps in the market. Having your local network is how you can quickly get feedback you can use to refine your service and stay ahead of your competition.

Here is a practical way to use your local networking to your advantage: leave personal flyers or business cards at local businesses. This is an old-school tactic that keeps your brand in front of potential clients. It also encourages collaborations and cross-promotions with other local companies. Being nearby can help you team up with other businesses, and when this happens, you can both often discover ways to complement each other’s products and services.

Improve Your Community and Reputation

A rising tide lifts all boats. Therefore, focusing on local networking directly benefits your local economy. Every relationship you create and every dollar you make within your community grows the local economy and keeps it healthy. When your local economy flourishes, more opportunities are created and thus the virtuous cycle goes round and round. 

The closer the connections between businesses and their local communities, the more credibility and goodwill will exist. You want your business seen as a supportive and active member of the community.  We live in a world of faceless, multinational corporations, especially in the West. If customers get the feeling that you’re truly a local company, it can convince them to choose you instead. 

Local Referrals and Marketing Collaboration

Utilizing local referrals is a potent strategy that can’t be left out here. The core concept of a referral network is reciprocity. You refer customers to them, and they return the favor. It’s simple and powerful. One reason it’s so powerful is because  word-of-mouth recommendations carry massive weight in consumer decisions, especially in an age when consumers know that online reviews aren’t as trustworthy as they once thought.

Marketing collaborations are also a win-win scenario for both parties. One example of this could be if a local restaurant teams up with a nearby gym to offer discounts to each other's customers. By doing this they can increase both their visibility and revenue. 

Optimal Customer Service

Local networking can give you a serious edge when it comes to personalized customer service. The best way for businesses to get in tune with the needs of their customers is to be in close contact with their local community. When you have intimate knowledge of your customer, you can provide the service that hits the mark every time. 

It’s the best way to cement customer loyalty and keep getting repeat business. That said, your communication itself doesn’t have to be pre-digital. Many companies use industry-specific communication software to reach their local customers. For example, veterinary practices can utilize veterinary-specific software to make appointments and send reminders to customers versus using general CRM software.

Build Stability for Your Business

Building a strong local network is also an investment in the stability of your business. What many entrepreneurs forget about global commerce is the fluctuations you endure. We’re talking about everything from fast-moving trends to stifling regulations, and other complexities that come with crossing borders.

Local commerce doesn’t have to deal with quite so much complexity. In fact, communities tend to stick together during challenging times which is a lot better for you than for those multinational conglomerates. That’s why forging these connections now can save you from future global uncertainties.

Local networking also lets you take advantage of shared resources. You could share office space or tools or even personnel with another company since the logistics make it possible. That could be a massive cost savings for both companies. It’s also true that local partnerships can provide knowledge and skill sharing, which can cut down on training time and money spent.

Local networking also is a boon for stoking innovation. When you collaborate with diverse local businesses you get exposed to a staggering amount of new ideas and perspectives. It’s a great way to stimulate creativity and innovation, which is exactly what you want to grow your business

Conclusion

To summarize, the allure of the global market is definitely enticing and its benefits are undeniable, but entrepreneurs and businesses simply cannot lose sight of the potential business residing within their local community. 

Local networking can help you forge meaningful partnerships. It can boost your sales and give your business a killer reputation. It can give you an innovative and customer service edge. It’s easily overlooked because it seems old-fashioned, but it’s completely worth it due to the stability and growth it can grant your business. 

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