The power of your business networkAt a marketing expert panel event I was asked to participate in, this topic came up for debate.

Some small business owners think networking simply takes up too much of their time to bother with and if they don’t see the immediate benefit of visiting, say 2 or 3 networking sessions, it’s easy to get despondent and feel it isn’t very effective. Networking takes time to take full effect, around 12 to 18 months realistically. But personally I have found that it has been one of the major marketing success factors in growing my own marketing consultancy which is a small business too.

My network is key to my business and I value and protect its quality. I don’t simply add every “business card” I meet networking to my database. Only people whose skills I value and will need and also people I feel I trust, respect and want to do business with.

It isn’t a business card collection opportunity that’s for sure! It’s about real people – listening, sharing and giving back – and then you will reap the rewards ten-fold.

Here’s what Stewart Graham of Avalon Solutions on the panel had to say about the benefits of networking…