Small business networking helps when running a small business proves much harder than many expect. While most dream of being their own boss and pulling the trigger on their own entrepreneurial ideas, they often find themselves with time and cash limitations. This seems especially true when it comes to proactive networking and promoting business growth. Fortunately, the digital age allows small-business owners more flexible options than existed in the past.

Small Business Networking Today

Small business networking no longer consumes the time and resources it once drained from entrepreneurs. Multiple days tied to glad-handing at industry events and conferences no longer prove essential. Today, digital tools provide low-cost options for successful small businesses. According to Social Media Today, business-to-business marketers with Twitter accounts acquire two times the business leads of those not on the platform. Conscious and focused social media and inbound marketing strategies utilize less time, energy and considerably less funding than traditional resources. Utilizing online networking also reduces conversion costs. According to Eloqua, the average cost per lead drops 80 percent after 5 months of consistent inbound marketing.

However, at times a good handshake still proves valuable. This rings true as much for the entrepreneur as for the potential lead. A 2015 international survey by Crowne Plaza Hotels, found that 81 percent of business professionals believe face-to-face meetings build better long-term trust. Now, if you’re a busy, cash-strapped entrepreneur, your likely response is, “They just want conferences booking in their hotels! I don’t have time for that.” Perhaps. But also view the trust factor from a personal perspective. Don’t you typically place more value on a connection you’ve made in person?

Small business networking today demands a tricky balance in the already overwhelming lives of entrepreneurs. Our best advice is to establish a strong preliminary digital networking base, then use those connections to expand to a luxury of more face-to-face networking. If you’d like to discus how to save time with networking, give Mike a call at JOHO Marketing.