Networking holds key to growth for small businesses

Research by has found that 50% of small businesses increase profits through networking, yet 33% of business owners struggle to form new connections

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86% of small businesses have cited making new business connections as an effective way to boost growth, but 33% are finding it difficult to build new relationships, according to new research by NatWest.

The results of the online survey, which involved 632 senior decision makers in small businesses, indicated that networking creates tangible results.

50% of respondents said that making connections had helped them increase business profits while 70% claimed to have secured new business in this way.

The value that small businesses place on networking is illustrated by the finding that 21% spend up to £1,000 to make a single new business contact.

When asked how they tend to make new connections, 68% said that they prefer traditional methods – such as meeting new contacts through an existing connection – to digital platforms like LinkedIn; which only 21% consider to be a useful networking tool.

Following the survey, small businesses have been encouraged to form new business connections if they intend to keep growing in 2017.

Marcelino Castrillo, managing director of business and private banking at NatWest, said: “It’s clear that meeting the right partners and contacts can make all the difference to a business’ growth potential.

“But, it isn’t always easy for smaller businesses to know how to go about meeting the right people to help grow their business and not all entrepreneurs actively make this one of their priorities.”

Click here for our guides on connecting with business mentors.

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