Networking is a key component for any professional. We all know the common phrase “it’s not what you know — it’s who you know.” But all too often we take this for granted and don’t really invest in this valuable tool. There are countless benefits to actively networking with both personal and professional circles.
Learning from others’ real life experiences is oftentimes more valuable than reading a book or a generic business article. Networking with people who are like-minded gives you the unique ability to learn from their past experiences. In addition, you have the opportunity to share ideas with each other and receive feedback. They may also give you a unique perspective that you may not have thought of. For those who have been in the industry for many years, it is a way for you to give back to the industry and share your experiences.
Executive Director, Retail Confectioners International
Making these new connections means they are learning about you and your business. In the future if they or someone in their network needs your services, they will refer them to you. In the same way, if you know someone that could use their services, be sure to share the information.
Networking with others and pushing yourself to talk to new people will help you to gain needed confidence. For many this may feel uncomfortable. But the more you put yourself out there and into a room to meet people, the more comfortable you will be. Gaining this confidence is important for any professional, but especially as a business owner whose success is based on meeting with people and networking for new business.
You never know when an opportunity will present itself through networking. It may be in the form of a connection to another in the industry, a referral for an order or a potential partnership with another company. You should always be ready to take advantage of these opportunities.
The sweetest outcome of networking is the relationships, or rather friendships, that are formed. Over time through industry-related events, meetings, events and associations, you will build relationships with people in the industry. They will oftentimes become life-long friends far beyond just a contact in your phone.
Networking is a life-long project that you continuously work at. In a world that has become so digital, there are still practical and rewarding reasons to continue to connect face-to-face. So if you are new to the industry or if you have been in it far too many years to count, networking remains a critical tool.
Retail Confectioners International offers an opportunity for candy makers and suppliers to do just that. Start-up candy makers are encouraged to connect with experienced members who have had many years in the industry. It’s a valuable resource that many are amazed by. Plan to join us this coming year at one of our upcoming events; we would love to meet and connect with you.
Upcoming RCI Events & Education Courses:
Chocolate Boot Camp
Feb. 23-26, 2015
Spring Mid-Atlantic Chocolate Tour
April 21-25, 2015
95th Annual Convention & Industry Expo
June 22-26, 2015
New York City
For more information about upcoming RCI events, visit www.retailconfectioners.org/events.