During our last conversation with Asif Ali Gohar about his rice leather, he mentioned that part of his success is that he has created a larger network and he uses the resources that this has made available to him. Today we are talking to him about how he has been encouraging others to build networks.
What is the purpose of having a business network? Do you also keep a person network?
A business network helps you to learn about what businesses and services are available around you, and you will develop relationships with the people in them. This helps to find your place in the community and to tap into the wealth of knowledge that they have learned.
Without a network you won’t know who the best suppliers are, what type of shipping is best, and how to best serve the community until you try all of the choices and find the right one. With a network, you’ll meet people and have conversations not only about their business and offerings but the suppliers they use, the shipping they found works best, and other topics. This can save you not only a lot of money but also a lot of stress and time.
I do have a personal network as well as a business one. This helps me to learn of the new places in town to try, new brands to look into, and helps me to have people to spend down time with. Hobbies are a great way to relieve stress and create a strong personal network of people who will help you to learn all you want too.
How do you suggest people start to create a network around them?
The first step is probably the hardest, but it sounds easy. Talk to people. Everywhere you go, talk to someone. You can also look online for local networking groups, there are some apps and websites that have lists and you can choose the ones that are the right fit for you.
Attend some local networking events, maybe join the Chamber of Commerce, they will have many services to offer as well as networking events. Just be active in your community and you will find that your network grows naturally.
What are the most important reasons to grow and maintain a network?
The most important reason is to be a recognized part of the community. That opens doors that nothing else will.
It also helps you to learn things faster and take short cuts when looking for services or products for your own business. When people are in your network, and you can trust each other you will be able to share your knowledge, and everyone benefits.
How early should one start to do this?
I think that it’s best to start as soon as you decide you are going to create a brand, or open a business. The sooner you have connections the more time you will save looking for the best suppliers or the best locations and insurance providers.