Face-To-Face Networking Essential for Small Firms
More than a third of small firms believe that networking face to face is still crucial to the success of their business, despite the massive increase of online networking, research by events organiser Business Scene has found.
The survey of 500 small businesses also revealed that 66 per cent attend networking events at least once a week. Of those that network face to face, 44 per cent have made more than £1,000 from it in the last year and 20 per cent have made more than £10,000.
“Online networking is good for making initial contact, but it’s no replacement for face-to-face networking when it comes to winning new business,” said Business Scene founder, Warren Cass.
“People are starting to think about where their next deal is coming from, and they realise that face-to-face networking can help them to gain new customers and suppliers,” he added.
“It is very hard to establish trust online, whereas if a business actually meets people and gets to know them, they are more likely to trust them enough to do business with them,” said Cass. “The increase in online networking is making people more confident at communicating, but it is in face-to-face situations that the majority of deals will be made.”
Founder of home business support network Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones, said that the growing popularity of social networking has led to more offline networking.
“Offline networking is great for new business generation, but also for building business relationships,” said Jones. “There is an element of trust because if you meet someone you are much more comfortable with doing business with them. It really depends how much work you are going to do with someone, but if it is a big contract meeting face to face gives you that added trust and credibility.”