If you are like most business owners, you have heard over and over about the importance of networking. You have probably also asked yourself, “who has the time to do all that networking?” If so, you are not alone. In fact, many business owners we talk with are so busy working in their business that they rarely take time to work on building key relationships that can help them move their business forward.
One thing we’ve learned at the AmericaSmiles Network is that while we can certainly assist dental lab owners in this area, the key to all effective networking efforts is to enter these relationships expecting to give as much as you get.
That’s the key, be willing to share your knowledge and experience along with gleaning from those you meet.
So what can networking do for you and your business? Here are three benefits to networking, especially with other business owners in the same industry, that we think make the effort worthwhile:
Been There, Done That
We all gravitate toward people who have success stories. When you network with others in your industry, you will find people who understand your challenges because they have experienced these same challenges themselves. When you have people to talk with who’ve been there and done that, you can learn from their mistakes, adopt best practices and see how they work in your area. In addition, as your network grows, so does your access to expertise. This year alone we’ve connected people who are looking to add new services with other labs who already offer those services so they can better understand the challenges associated with adding new technology or pursuing new customers. The opportunity to discuss these ideas ahead of time can really smooth the way for a successful new effort.
Collaboration and Validation
This leads us to the second benefit of networking: collaboration and validation of your business models. When you connect with others who have already tried new marketing ideas or adopted new technology, you have the chance to validate these ideas ahead of time. We have even seen network members begin to collaborate and even partner to offer shared services. The launch of our milling center partner, AMS Dental Technologies, was a collaboration among network members to invest in technology that none of these labs could have done in their own at the time. In addition, when you network with people who are in the boat with you, you gain encouragement and support that is often hard to find outside of your own family members. Strong networks begin to feel like family as members share their challenges and successes with one another.
Business Growth Through Relationships
Relationships that are built through networking can be very powerful catalysts for your business and leadership growth. As your connection with other business owners grows, you will often find synergistic opportunities that allow you to further leverage your knowledge and resources. At AmericaSmiles, we envision a day when our network has grown in strength and vitality to the point where our members not only benefit from the association, but we have the ability to team together to have real impact on our industry.
As you think about growing your own network, ask yourself what experience and knowledge you can offer others? I’m confident that as you do, you’ll find other lab owners who not only want to hear what you have to say but will bring their own expertise and support to share as well.