The Power of Networking
Posted on 7th September 2022 at 12:36
In our experience of working with hundreds of business owners like you over the last few years, there are two things that separate out those that successfully scale from those that do not.
Firstly, they work to a proven system and with strategies to scale and build value, including an understanding of the ScaleUp Journey and the difference from linear growth. In other words, they properly plan and execute scaling up and don’t just drift into growth.
Secondly, they understand and harness the power of networking, working monthly with a small group of like-minded business owners that act as a sounding board of their peers to share their experiences, and help to overcome barriers to scaling up along the way. They also keep each other accountable to the key things that will scale their business and avoid them getting distracted. An old African proverb sums this up nicely: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.
Aside from providing the opportunity to work with a balanced group of business owners, peer-to-peer networking provides the opportunity for business owners to shape and advance their leadership skills by learning from the successes and mistakes of each other, spanning all 4 Pillars of scaleup.
In addition, peer-to-peer networking enables business leaders to address and overcome the identified barriers to scale, such as confidence, team culture, leadership and honing your business model to create true competitive advantage.
If you have worked in your industry for any length of time, you will have become biased or ‘blinkered’. You will undoubtedly have come to accept certain ‘truths’ about the way your industry works. But are they ‘truths’? As well as looking internally into what you see as the bottlenecks, think about looking externally into other industries for potential ideas. This is one of the real powers of peer groups, or mastermind groups, or bringing in nonexecutive directors from other industries; they will be free of your biases and will challenge those ‘truths’!
There is a natural give-and-take in networking. When getting advice from a group of other business owners you also get the opportunity to share your experiences and give your advice to the others in your networking group. It is not about selling your wares or pushing your business cards it is about building connections and relationship with people who might be in a similar situation to you who can be trusted to give advice. Referrals and introductions are not the same as sales; networking with other business owners gives you the opportunity to make contacts and increase your credibility through the collaboration with others.
In many of BizSmart's peer-to-peer networking programmes the idea is that you use your peers as a sort of sounding board, a board of directors that you can get support and advice from to help avoid mistakes that they have made; saving yourself time and money in the process. "It’s like having five Non Executive Directors working on your business every month – and you get to experience working on other businesses too!", said a member.
In the last 5 years alone, we have worked with over 450 business owners and assisted delivering an average increase in turnover of +29% and a 36% growth in profits within the first 12 months. Our objective is to help double the value of each business we work with within 2 years through our networking programmes as well as advisor support.
There are many platforms in which you can take advantage of the power of peer networking. Join us for our next ScaleUp Club event and find out for yourself.
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