“I do not have friends and network with the commercial cinema world. In every business, the network is important.”
Milind Soman, Model
Advantages & Disadvantages of Networking
Business networking has become increasingly popular over the past decades. Many people use their networks to expand their knowledge, to stay in contact with former colleagues and also to improve their overall job opportunities.
While business networking has many important advantages, there are still some downsides to this concept. The pros and cons of networking are discussed in the following.
Advantages of Networking
- You can improve your job opportunities through networking
- Networking gives you the chances to stay in contact with business partners
- Networking can lead to friendships
- Networking can help you to improve your knowledge
- Business networking has become quite easy thanks to social media
- You may get interested in new fields
- Can help in terms of personal development
- Makes it easier to start new projects
- You can become an expert in your field
- Business networking can help you getting out of your comfort zone
- Can provide B2B opportunities
- Business networking can help to strengthen a brand
- Can translate into higher profits for companies
- Important to recognize the latest trends
- You can exchange ideas in your business networks
- You can get insider information through business networking
You can improve your job opportunities through networking
One important advantage of business networking is that you can significantly improve your job opportunities. In fact, it is much easier to get a job at a renowned company if you already have contacts with employees in this company. This is due to the fact that people inside this company often have close contacts with decision-makers.
In turn, if you already have an advocate inside the company, your chances of getting the job will be much higher compared to someone who just applies without having these connections.
Networking gives you the chances to stay in contact with business partners
Networking can also help you to stay in contact with your business partners. If you invite them for lunch from time to time, these business partners will also be more likely to make business with you in the future. Hence, staying in contact with business partners is quite important to get future orders and to stay in business for a long time.
Networking can lead to friendships
Another benefit of networking is that some of your contacts will become really good friends in the future. In fact, if you work in a company for quite a long time and see your colleagues almost every day, chances are that you will also hang out with those people from time to time in your leisure.
Consequently, networking can not only help you with your business career in various ways, it can also help you with making many new friends in the long run.
Networking can help you to improve your knowledge
If you have a strong business network, chances are that you will also learn many important skills over time. You will have contact with many people who are true experts in their field and this gives you the opportunity to learn from the best. In turn, chances are that you will also become better in various fields. In the long run, this can lead to many additional job opportunities.
Moreover, apart from the business benefits related to networking, you can also acquire plenty of knowledge that can also help you with various other purposes of your life.
Business networking has become quite easy thanks to social media
Another upside of business networking is that it has become quite easy over the past years. In fact, while you had to exchange business cards or even communicate with letters just a few decades ago, you can nowadays network over social media. In fact, platforms like LinkedIn have become quite popular since you can easily stay in touch with former colleagues while you only have to put in a rather limited effort.
Moreover, those platforms also offer recruiters to directly contact you. In many cases, if you have a high qualification level, you don’t have to actively search for jobs. Recruiters or your contacts will find you and offer you job opportunities on a regular basis.
You may get interested in new fields
Through networking and talking to many different people, you may also become interested in many different fields. In fact, there are so many job opportunities and business fields out there and many people simply don’t know about them.
Moreover, our world is changing at a significant speed and many new job opportunities will arise in the near future. In general, networking can help you with exploring new job areas of many sorts.
Can help in terms of personal development
Personal development is quite important in order to succeed in our nowadays job market. In fact, many companies think that the character and the maturity of a candidate are even more important than the hard skills a candidate has to offer. One way to develop yourself further is to join networking events and to talk to many different people.
By doing so, you will get many new ideas and can greatly expand your horizon. In turn, recruiters will notice that you really progressed and your job opportunities may improve as well.
Makes it easier to start new projects
From time to time, you may also feel quite fed up with your current position and urgently want to make a change. However, if you have worked in a company for a quite long time, you may feel kind of rusty and may need some help to start a new project.
Especially if you want to start your own business, networking can be crucial since if you have many contacts, chances are that you will get your first clients pretty soon. In turn, the chances to succeed as an entrepreneur also increase significantly due to that head start.
You can become an expert in your field
While you may not have too much knowledge when you start your career, you will acquire plenty of knowledge over time. In turn, this can also give you the opportunity to become a real expert in your field. However, you will only be recognized as such an expert if you have a strong network of people supporting and promoting you.
Hence, if you really have the ambition to become a recognized expert in your industry, having some kind of business network truly helps you in this regard.
Business networking can help you getting out of your comfort zone
Many people are also not used to networking at all. Especially for rather shy and introverted people, networking can be a great way to get out of their comfort zone. Let’s be honest. We all love to stay in our comfort zone since it feels so convenient. However, from time to time, we have to leave the comfort zone to really grow in character.
In fact, from my personal experience, I learned the most when I had to handle unfamiliar situations. Therefore, if you really want to develop new skills, networking can also help you out quite a lot.
Can provide B2B opportunities
Networking can not only help you to succeed in the corporate world, it also gives you many important opportunities in the B2B context. In fact, staying in touch with other corporations is crucial to succeeding in business since you will not be able to stay competitive on your own in the long run most of the time.
Consequently, especially if you own a rather small business and your dependence on certain suppliers is pretty high, make sure that you network properly in order to assure having those important business partners on your side for a long time.
Business networking can help to strengthen a brand
Creating a brand has become extremely important over the past years. If you are able to create a brand, you can charge much more for your products and consumers will still buy. Hence, in order to increase your profit margins as an entrepreneur, it is crucial to strengthen your brand as best as possible. One important way to strengthen a brand is to engage in proper networking.
If you have a good network, you can ask your business partners to promote your products and your company. In turn, you may be able to create a strong brand in the long run, which can give you a real boost in sales and profits.
Can translate into higher profits for companies
In general, business networking is crucial for companies to strengthen their overall market position and to maximize profits in the long run. The more important business partners you have in your network, the higher the organic reach of your business will be.
In turn, a higher reach also often implies more sales and more sales also often imply higher profits. Hence, business networks can also indirectly contribute to increasing profits in the long run.
Important to recognize the latest trends
Business networks are also extremely important to recognize the latest trends in a market. Our technology progresses at rapid speed and if you want to stay competitive in the future, you will have to adapt to new technologies and circumstances quite often. However, in order to adapt to those new technologies, you first have to realize that they will even be present in the future.
Your business network can greatly help you in this regard since you can talk to experts in their respective field and those experts will see future trends much sooner compared to the general public. Therefore, your business network can help you to adapt to new technologies much faster than your competition, which can give you an important edge to increase your market share.
You can exchange ideas in your business networks
Not only can you greatly profit from the information that is shared with you by members of your business network, you can also share your ideas through those networks. If you provide value for others, those people will be far more likely to pay you back in the long run and helping others out in business is a good idea in general.
In fact, if you provide significant value for your business partners, the chances that you will succeed in business in the long run will greatly increase.
You can get insider information through business networking
Business networks can also be quite helpful in terms of getting insider information. Sure, the spread of insider information is often against the law, yet it is quite common in many different industries and if you want to stay in business for a long time, you may want to make use of this important information before other competitors do so.
Of course, you should only use insider information in a way that is in line with laws and regulations in your country in order to avoid any unpleasant legal consequences.
Disadvantages of Business Networking
- Business networking takes time
- May not be effective
- Can give you a false sense of security
- You have to keep your profiles up-to-date
- Business networking changes over time
- Many people don’t get how it actually works
- Networking meetings can be expensive
- Networking is a long-term game
- You may lose your own identity
- You have to provide value
- Business networking is not a magic pill
Business networking takes time
Although there are many important advantages of networking, there are still some downsides related to this concept. For instance, one problem of business networking is that it can take quite a lot of time until you build a significant network of important people that can really push your forward.
Hence, networking is not a fast way to succeed in business, it can take many years or even centuries to build a strong business network which can really benefit you in a significant manner.
May not be effective
Another disadvantage of business networks is that they are often not too effective. Many people think that networking is everything and that people who have many connections will be significantly more successful compared to people who don’t have those networks. While this can be true to a certain extent, there is a big caveat to it.
Not the number of people in your network determines how successful you will be in business, what really matters is the quality and the sort of connection you have to those people.
For instance, if you have 50 strong connections to influential people, those 50 connections will be much more valuable compared to 1,000 weak connections to people who don’t have any power.
Therefore, if you want to network, make sure that you do it in a proper manner so that you don’t waste your time.
Can give you a false sense of security
Many people also just rely on their network far too much. While strong business networks can give you some boost for your career and may also improve your chances on the job market, they may not matter as much as many people think they do. In fact, many people may get a false sense of security due to their business networks.
People often think that their business network will help them in every situation of their corporate career. However, in case of significant economic downturns, your business network may not be able to help you at all since everyone else is also in trouble.
In such times, everybody cares about themselves first and your business network may be almost useless in such a state.
You have to keep your profiles up-to-date
If you spend plenty of time networking with social media, you will also have to keep your profiles up-to-date in order to make a good impression on recruiters or other business partners. In fact, many people create those social media profiles, but don’t update them on a regular basis. The result will be an old profile which is basically useless or may even confuse your business partners.
Therefore, if you want to engage in social media networking, make sure that you keep your profiles up-to-date in order to really profit from those networks.
Business networking changes over time
Another downside of business networking is that it changes quite rapidly over time. The way networking is done today is completely different compared to just one decade ago. Since our technology progresses at rapid speed, chances are that the way how we network with each other will change as well over time.
Hence, if you want to continue networking in a successful manner, you will often have to adapt to new circumstances and to new media channels. However, many people have problems with adapting to new technologies and chances are that if you are one of those people, you will not be able to successfully network in the long run.
Many people don’t get how it actually works
Many people out there are also quite confused about how business networking really works. People often think that it is enough to connect to other people who they’ve only seen a couple of times and that those connections will favor them in the long run. However, this is often not true at all.
Most of the time, your weaker connections will already have forgotten about you and will be of no use anymore in the future. Thus, networking only works in an efficient manner if you keep in touch with your contacts. Otherwise, those contacts are basically useless after a few years.
Networking meetings can be expensive
There are also networking companies out there that organize networking events. Those events can be helpful to make new business connections, yet they are often also quite expensive and especially if you are on a budget right now, chances are that you may not want to spend those amounts of money on networking.
If you want to attend those kinds of networking events, make sure that you get value out of them in order not to waste your time and money.
Networking is a long-term game
Many people also underestimate how long it actually takes to build a strong network. The result is that many people get discouraged by building those profiles and many people even give up networking after a rather short period of time.
However, it is crucial that you keep going and that you grow your network. Only then will you have access to important people who really can help you out in the long run.
You may lose your own identity
While networking can help you to learn a lot, there is still a significant danger of losing your own identity. Especially if you hang out with people who already formed a strong character, chances are that you will adapt many characteristics from those people and that they influence you quite a lot. In turn, you may lose your own character traits over time and may feel lost in the long run.
You have to provide value
Networking is also not a game of just taking. You also have to provide value for the partners in your network. In fact, many people just consider their network as a source to get the most benefits out of it while they don’t want to do good for others.
However, this attitude can be quite harmful and may not lead to long-term success since your networking partners will soon realize that they don’t get any value out of the relationship.
Business networking is not a magic pill
After all, business networking is also no magic pill to solve business problems. Sure, you can improve your chances to succeed in business through those networks, yet there are many other factors that determine how successful you will really be in business and your network may not play a major role in this regard.
Top 10 Business Networking Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Business Networking Pros||Business Networking Cons|
|Business networking can help to get a good job||Business networking can be time-consuming|
|Networks can be important to stay competitive||Networking is not always fun|
|Also important in B2B environments||Business networking can be a waste of time|
|Networking is quite easy through social media||Networking is not a magic pill|
|You may learn a lot through your network||It takes time to get a strong network|
|Can be helpful for career changes||May lead to a flawed sense of security|
|You can become an expert in your field||You have to keep your profiles up-to-date|
|Networking can help to strengthen a brand||You have to provide value for your network|
|Important to see latest trends||You may lose your identity|
|Networking is important to exchange ideas||Many people don’t understand networking|
Should You Network In The Corporate World?
A strong business network can help you to maximize your chances in the business world. However, as we have seen before, there are also some problems related to business networks.
In my opinion, while you should spend some time on networking, it should never become your primary focus. Instead, try to create as much value as possible for people in order to succeed in the business world in the long run.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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