When Aristotle postulated that “Nature abhors a vacuum,” we are pretty sure he was not referring to the plight of home-based business owners and other independent contractors who experience the isolation and whacked out work/life balances from working and living in the same place. However, the ancient philosopher’s wisdom still applies today. In order to please nature, coworking spaces have changed the way we work – due, in part, to their built-in networking capabilities.
For startups, small businesses looking to grow, and most definitely, entrepreneurs and freelancers, networking not only helps you get out there and get exposure meeting other business owners, but it is also a necessity in today’s commercial landscape. When you come into contact with other like-minded professionals at industry events or conferences, you stand a good chance of learning a few things from the people you meet in between sessions and at conference social gatherings. The popularity of coworking spaces can be credited to supporting the natural peer-to-peer sharing atmospheres these spaces create.
Coworking and networking go hand-in-hand
Research has shown that coworking environments improve productivity in business professionals by 74%, according to the online publication deskmag. One study pointed out that 86% of folks using coworking spaces increased their business networks and 93% enjoyed larger social networks. Two-thirds of these coworking members felt more creative and now collaborate more on projects, while a third even reported increased income. The bottom line: networking steps up your business game in many amazing ways.
Get and give some advice, share some insights
Learning from your peers occurs naturally when you network. Another timeless adage states, “Two heads are better than one.” With more eyes on an issue, resolutions abound. You might meet someone struggling with the same issue that is slowing down your forward momentum. By mentioning your challenge, you might find that missing link, something that had not occurred to you before this encounter. You might talk to someone who has been where you are, who can give you the tip you need to get your business back on track. On the flip side, you could share just the right magic insight to straighten out someone else’s business hurdle.
Find a freelancer
For independent contractors, networking provides a way to increase their exposure and grow their brand bases. Offering web design, photography, content writing, marketing plans, and other services to update your online presence, freelance professionals can spare you the distraction of putting your work on hold while you work on your website. You don’t have to be an expert at everything; just talk to your peers, they’ll get you in touch with freelance professionals, as well as independent attorneys that can help you with licensing, permits, contracts and such.
Hire from your coworking community
Again, coworking spaces lend themselves to networking within your work community. Businesses can find freelancers and suggest them to other businesses while freelancers, in turn, can recommend your business to other clients in the community. As your business expands and you need to hire an in-house content writer and marketing team or an IT team, well . . . you’ve got your bases covered. Hiring from within your coworking community means you save the time and expense of interviewing random candidates whose work you don’t know. Hmmm . . . hire someone you already know and like the way they work? What a concept.
Collaborate, collaborate, do that new thing
All of this networking, idea swapping, brainstorming and imagining new horizons can lead to a synergy that’s ripe for collaboration. Motivated and inspired by like-minded individuals, imaginations can soar and a shared thought evolves into a new business concept. An unintentional side effect of networking, synergy has a tendency to spark new ideas, taking on a life of its own. A strong, collaborative community can harness these ideas and turn them into new, successful business ventures. Peers can also help each other reach out beyond their own circles of support to broader exposure and brand identity building.
Growing your brand
As you grow and your circle of connections expands, peers can help strengthen your business’s footprint, exponentially. Attending business networking events should be part of any growing business’s plan. Industry-specific events and conferences can expand your peer base, as well as deepen your industry knowledge. Peers can put you in contact with others in your industry that will refer you on a local basis for services outside their geographical locations. Also, other professionals in your network may refer you to clients that require your specific skill-set or products that their business doesn’t offer.
At conferences and events
When attending industry events and conferences, make sure you do your homework and come prepared to make an impression. Look at the attendee list for other industry professionals you are interested in meeting. Formulate a list of questions you would like to ask certain peers in terms of your business’s needs. Remember to pack enough current business cards for events or be sure you’ve got an effective, alternative keep-in-contact device up your sleeve.
After events and conferences, it’s important to follow up with peers you have just met. Sending emails, joining LinkedIn groups and other industry groups can strengthen your networks and increase your company’s online presence.
In business, learning from peers is important because peers give you second opinions, additional insights, and a much-needed reality check sometimes. In addition to supporting your efforts, peer advice can increase your exposure and build stronger, more effective networks to grow your business. You stay motivated and inspired, working around other business professionals towards the same success goals.
Venture X coworking spaces are designed to create an inspiring and motivating place to work. Our contemporary, upscale facilities cater to the needs of our members with a variety of different workspaces and flexible, monthly rates to meet your business needs. From shared desk spaces to semi-private and private offices, Venture X offers many amenities and well-appointed spaces to help you network and meet new peers in the course of the business day.
But, it’s not all work here at Venture X, as our community areas offer excellent places to take breaks and grab a bite to eat. With educational networking events and a space to throw your own launch party, Venture X makes the most of peer-to-peer networking. Make the most of your networking potential and create some fun in your work life.