The importance of networking
Wherever you live on earth, you need to know people. If you know many people and if you help them once in a while, they will help you too in return. Same thing in the Netherlands. Only here it’s too cold to live on the street like people in warm countries do. So you have to go to a special occasion, especially for forming a network with people that you get to know there.
If you don’t know anybody, you won’t have a lot of customers. If you are a business owner, it’s clear why you need a network: if people don’t know you, they simply won’t buy from you. Even more if you sell services, but also if you sell products.
If you don’t know anybody, you won’t easily find a job. Of course, people nowadays find a job in most cases through the internet, but I know many that found a job with the help of an acquaintance. I even once helped somebody myself. She was a teacher at the school of my children and only worked there for a short time. At the end of the year the school doubted if they would hire her permanently. I told the director why I found her a very good teacher and why I would like her to have the vacant job. And she got it. So it really works!
In warm countries networking just belongs to life. When I lived in Greece and worked as a singer, networking was done in a very natural way: we used to go with a couple of friends to a nice club where we would like to sing and where we knew someone of the musicians or singers. That way we also were of service to that person. We got to know the owner of the club and gave him our telephone number. We also told our friend that already worked there, that we would like to sing there. The advantage of that way was that it went in a cheerful way, but it also cost quite a lot of money and time. And if you didn’t know anybody in the club where you wanted to sing, you didn’t have a way to get there. In many countries it works that way and that’s why Dutch networking may seem a little strange in the beginning, but it ‘s very open and quite democratic.
So how does it work here? First you visit http://www.ondernemersnetwerken.nl. There you look for your branche (branche) or for the region (regio) where you live. There you get to see a lot of networks with a link to their website. You can choose one. In most cases you can try out once if you think the network fits you. Most people in networks are entrepreneurs, but not all!
You have to become a member of a network. That isn’t always so, because I’m not a member of the Business Café, but in most cases it is. And mostly it isn’t for free. Just take a look at different networks how much fee they ask. Maybe you even know someone that is a member of a network. Also sport associations mostly have a business network. An exemple is the Wageningen hockeyclub.
In many countries people want to know each other before doing business. That’s also valid in the Netherlands. People want to know with who they’re dealing before doing business with you. Or before they offer you a job, especially if it’s a high function. That’s why networking helps you very well. If you are a business owner, you can also send a newsletter like I do. In that way you also build a network of potential customers.
©Sophia Vassiliou 2009
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Tags: network, networking