5 reasons to make networking your strongest business acumen

Powerful networking: Julia Finnis-Bedford is the President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation’s (EO) Cape Town Chapter, who offer a peer-to-peer support and mentorship network. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Julia Finnis-Bedford is the President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation’s (EO) Cape Town Chapter, who offer a peer-to-peer support and mentorship network. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

One’s social capital or ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships is the most important asset in your portfolio and is, ironically, what many entrepreneurs struggle with. Powerful networks equal powerful position and access to business opportunities. More and more, business leaders are inclined to interact with people within their network, whom they can trust.

As a young entrepreneur you want referrals, advice and support that is credible, and navigating the networking landscape when you are just starting out, can be a lonesome, costly, and time-consuming journey.

Julia Finnis-Bedford is the president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation’s (EO) Cape Town Chapter, who offer a peer-to-peer support and mentorship network. She is also the owner of Amazing Spaces Locations and is the co-founder of Amazing Spaces Lifestyle Investments.

She believes that your net worth is your network. Since joining EO not only has her business acumen improved but so has her confidence as a female business owner. She shares her insights about the benefits of networking.

1. Trusted referrals

There are hundreds if not thousands of service providers listed online, which one can choose from to work with. However, asking other business owners within your own network, like EO, who they prefer to work with is extremely valuable and can save you time and money.

2. Shared values  

Shared values promote comradery, fellowship, and friendship. There is huge value in being able to share your fears, stress, and achievements with peers you can trust and who have your back. In business this is sadly what trips many entrepreneurs up because they are too afraid to ask for help.

3. Personal support 

As a woman in business, I have found the journey to be very lonely at times and a very distinctive part of my EO experience has been the women in my forum. Having them to share my experiences of being a mother, home provider and carer has come with its own challenges, and it’s been incredibly rewarding having their support.

4. Sense of community 

While networking groups are aimed at growing entrepreneurs, they also encourage the entrepreneur’s family and spouse to get involved and connect with each other at exclusive family events further cementing a sense of community.

5. Mentorship opportunities

While there is a misconception that networking is for those who are outgoing by joining a networking group can benefit even the shyest person. Forum processes are designed to inspire and encourage interaction. There are mentoring opportunities and surprisingly it’s often the mentee that ends up becoming the mentor and is the best way to get the most out of your journey as an entrepreneur.

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