At first glance, you might not see the connection between these three functions, but there are some common threads which run through them, and each can support and enhance the other. The link between networking and job searches should be fairly apparent, since one of the best ways to learn about new opportunities will generally come from colleagues in the same industry, or from contacts you’ve made while in your present job. But how does business development tie in with these two other functions?
Networking lets you take advantage of personal contacts as well as business contacts, and without them you’d have to rely mostly on your resume during a job search, and on your own business acumen if you’re trying to develop your business. Having some additional experience in your corner can be just like having more employees, except better because your contacts may have some really valuable business advice for you.
There are times when you just want to lean on someone who has been around longer, and has gone through the ebb and flow of business for years. These are times when networking and business development can go hand-in-hand. In fact, you may even want to enter into a strategic partnership with someone whom you’ve known in the business world for years.
In general terms, business development includes almost any kind of activities which will help improve your business. What that really boils down to though, is increasing revenues and profitability, making strategic business decisions, and making the business grow, i.e. expand. Business networking is a process which puts you in touch with suppliers, business owners, and other professionals, all of whom might help you grow your business.
This kind of networking gives you access to competitors, clients, and fellow businessmen. You probably have something you can offer to them, and they in turn can supply you with something you need but may not have within your organization. Having relationships like these might well provide you with opportunities for partnerships, joint undertakings, or new possibilities for expanding your business.
As mentioned above, the connection between job searching and networking is a fairly strong one, since many of the best opportunities are actually referred to you by people you know in the same business. Is there any commonality between job searches and improving your business development skills? Of course. The people you might rely on to help you with your job search might be the very same business personnel who can help you improve your business development skills.
If some of your colleagues have been around a while and have enjoyed relatively long business careers, they might know of positions you’re well suited for, and they might also be able to mentor you on how to get better at growing a business. They might be able to put you in touch with key people in your industry who can serve as suppliers, useful owners, or helpful colleagues.
Getting ahead in business calls for you to make good use of all three of these functions, and given the connection between them all, becoming proficient at one should help you become good at the others as well.