New data has revealed that 65% of businesses find face-to-face networking essential for their marketing.
And with important social-media-based partnerships appearing, such as through the online platform, Tiktok, it is no wonder that SMEs are looking into branching out and connecting with other businesses and their audience in new ways.
Business communities are a necessity for many smaller businesses. By connecting with other businesses, whether in the same local community or the same business area, you can further your outreach to new and established audiences.
And for many, business partnerships (and so a strong business community) are necessary for creating new ideas and insights – giving you a better understanding of the market and what your business can offer new and loyal customers. In fact, 44% of businesses seek partnerships for the purpose of innovation.
Attending seasonal markets is necessary for many small businesses wanting to branch out into the local community. Small weekend markets are a great place to expand your network, keeping you in the loop with new and emerging businesses.
Whether hiring commercial slush machines for a summer market or catering food for the local fair, ensuring your business is involved in summer events is crucial. At the same time, other seasonal markets might be just as effective for craft businesses selling jewellery, clothing, or pottery – for example.
Not only do you get to connect with customers first-hand, but you will also be surrounded by like-minded businesses. This can be a great networking opportunity to get your name and brand recognised within a local space.
Hosting your networking events can also be a great way to connect with businesses without the interruption of daily work. Specific business networking events can facilitate easy and effective communication with business owners, marketing departments, and other professionals.
These events let you connect better and find companies which align with your values. By building strategic partnerships, you can benefit your business while helping others; if your business is strong in IT, whereas another company has great customer after-care, cross-training and outsourcing might benefit both.
In fact, partnerships actually provide better growth than paid searches for business. So instead of wasting your time and money, you can be putting that additional energy into making connections in the industry and gaining better organic traffic.
Another way you can connect with local and industry businesses is by hosting workshops.
Whether these are industry specific and discuss upcoming market trends, feature guest speakers from varying companies, or introduce local businesses to different industries, these can place your company in a thought leadership position and make your business a go-to for local and industry knowledge.
These workshops aren’t only opportunities for networking, but they also allow businesses to benefit each other. By exploring your business strengths and offering other companies a knowledge share, you can help encourage growth within the local community.
Business-to-business communication is key when it comes to developing SMEs. There are many benefits to collaborating and meeting other businesses in multiple settings, including networking and skill sharing. Whether you are meeting at local markets and encouraging shared customers or workshopping skills that can transfer across industries, connecting with businesses and creating a community of companies can help grow any industry.