Networking | KZN Women in Business
I have been a member of KZN WIB since 2007! That’s over 14 years on and off…. This week I received a 7-year consecutive membership certificate at our last meeting for 2021. So let me reminisce….
My husband and I returned to South Africa from Korea in 2005 and started na-nu-ja, which was the first company to introduce lay flat photobook albums to the South African market. After working together for almost two years, I was craving female business companionship. I needed to learn from, bounce ideas off, and connect with Durban female business owners. I discovered and joined three groups over the years Womens’ Lifestyle World (no longer in existence), KZN WIB and Umhlanga Women Achievers. I do also randomly attend groups in other areas, to increase the exposure of my business to new regions.
I learned that the power of networking can impact your business in numerous ways if done right. Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet.
A quick google search revealed these Five Benefits of Networking:
- Shared Knowledge – how I have loved attending and conducting workshops, learning from the many guest speakers, getting referrals and feedback on issues from fellow members
- Opportunities – making so many photobooks, resin frames and albums for various members and referred clients. I also loved partnering with Ithemba Lethu and making a photobook telling “The Unfolding Story 2016-2017”
- Connections – it is not always who is in the room, but also who they know – I find myself so creatively inspired listening to speakers and the diversity of topics covered. Getting to know people who train dogs to help the blind, explorers like Kingsley Holgate, radio DJs, marketing gurus, people who have endured such hardships and overcome difficulties like addiction and trauma, those living with life challenging conditions not accepting conventional ceilings – I often found myself moved to tears….
- Increased confidence – those elavator pitches, 1 minute introductions, table networking slots and lately online chats and meetings.
- Raising your profile – expo tables, monthly prizes, sponsorship opportunities
I can also add:
Fun – Turkish Delight Fiesta, Barnyard Fundraiser, Mum’s Mail High Teas, Events, Breakfasts, End of Year Meetings – so many different venues – Beachfront, Tsogo Sun, Holiday Inn, Greyville, PMB, sea level to rooftops. Kwangjeon and my parents and friends have also been guests at various functions.
Friends I have now known some of the members for so many years – we don’t necessarily have children in the same schools, have the same hobbies, or like the same food, but we have a business connection which I LOVE and a wide age gap difference and often from different cultural backgrounds.
It is very important to listen more than you talk, be an active listener, getting to know people’s unique needs and businesses.
Have business cards, take notes, follow up as quickly as possible after the meetings, because if you wait too long the connection made may be forgotten. Try and bring up something that was discussed and if they had a need, offer a solution or help and if possible meet up face to face.
It is important to track your networking efforts to see what is working or what is not. Once a connection is made you are able to add the contact details to your company’s database. This will help you track behaviour going forward.