A third of small businesses struggle to network effectively

Networking has always formed an essential part of business growth, but despite its relevance, a third of businesses report that they are struggling to form new ties.

According to new research from NatWest, 86% of small business owners see new business connections as vital for boosting growth, yet 33% say they are finding it difficult.

Given that half of firms increase their profits through their ability to network effectively, overcoming these issues is key for business longevity.

More than 600 senior decision makers were questioned as part of the survey which highlighted the importance of networking.

Around 70% said that making connections had helped them to secure new business that resulted in overall growth.

More than one fifth of those questioned said they spend upwards of £1,000 when trying to form a new business contact.

Interestingly, the majority of respondents (68%) said they prefer traditional means of networking, such as meeting new contacts through an existing connection, over new digital platforms like LinkedIn.

Only 21% of key decision makers listed the social networking platform as a useful tool for networking, despite it being designed to help form links for businesses.

The survey has led NatWest to recommend that small businesses continue to actively network in order to drive growth in 2017.

Meeting the right individuals can make all the difference for small businesses, especially if they are able to secure mammoth contracts as a result.

A failure to drive growth and expansion will ultimately place a business under financial pressure which can call into question its long-term survival.

Those that stagnate might ultimately face insolvency, although a rage of recovery methods may open up new opportunities should a viable option be found.

Businesses need to constantly review their set up to ensure a smooth operation and should consider option reviews if they are unsure of the best route to take.

The key with any of these routes is to act quickly at the first sign of financial difficulty, as this increases the likelihood that a solution can be found.

By Phil Smith

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