Over 35% of Small Businesses Consider Networking Activities Ineffective, Survey Reveals
Research shows that small and medium-sized businesses need a clear online and offline networking strategy to increase social capital
An academic report, titled ‘Generating Social Capital’, found that although 94% of small and medium-sized businesses considered ‘word-of-mouth’ as key to a business’ success – and social media as a necessary part of this with 90% having a presence of some sort – over 35% considered their networking activities to be ineffective.
The research, commissioned by accountancy firm Kingston Smith LLP and conducted by business schools of the Universities of Surrey and Greenwich, consisted of a survey of more than a 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses owners, plus focus groups and discussions with 25 individual managers.
The study also highlighted the importance of face-to-face networking events, with most of those surveyed stating that they are as important as social media presence; as long as businesses are careful not to ‘event overload’ but to use events as a supplement to a strong social media presence.
The report found that successful businesses ensure that their networking covers different communities, and integrates both offline and online methods.
Professor Mark Saunders, who directed the survey, insisted upon the importance of an effective networking strategy:
“Our research shows that SMEs need to be strategic in their use of offline and online activities to maximise their effectiveness and avoid falling into the time-wasting trap.
“Social capital – the quality of goodwill created through these activities – provides information and influence from which SMEs can yield valuable business development opportunities.”
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