Put simply, networking is engaging with like-minded and/or local business people in your area.
You may feel you’re too busy to network while you are firming up your business concept, especially if you are currently working full-time for someone else, but it is well worth finding the time. Consider it an investment in the future.
Networking gives you the opportunity to discuss the challenges of starting a business with other small business owners at a similar stage, as well as with more experienced owners.
Some suggestions for productive networking:
- Start attending free ANZ business workshops running in your area to network with other business owners.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce and any relevant industry or business associations.
- Look for other business groups and networks in your area.
When you meet experienced business people you can ask them to recommend the right people for your core advisory group.
Whatever type of business you’re planning it’s a real advantage to select advisers such as accountants or lawyers with experience in your industry.
These advisers can help you assess your business idea and point out any specific issues in your industry. Once you're up and running, they may be able to supply you with average performance indicators for the industry, such as gross and net profit margins, or stock turn rates. These will enable you to set performance targets for your business to match industry averages.