Broader in scope than marketing, business growth includes all those elements necessary to serve and satisfy even more clients.

These elements range from market research and business planning to ongoing personal development and expanding service offerings.

Fortunately, the best approach to growing a business is the same as the most commonly applied strategy for generating new business. That approach is personal networking.

For professionals who have developed large and effective personal networks, that’s good news.

They can simply apply their networking skills to include sourcing the help they need to grow their businesses.

Other professionals are not so fortunate.

A small or ineffective network represents a major marketing challenge and by extension, an obstacle to business growth.

However, by expanding the focus of networking to include growing one’s business can clarify and simplify the process of developing and benefiting from an effective social network.

Networking Is More Than Doing Lunch

Without a doubt, networking is more than doing lunch.

It is even more than exchanging business leads.

Networking is all about sharing useful information.

At the most basic of levels, it demonstrates the cliché expression ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’. In other words, ‘you help me and I will help you’.

At a more advanced level, it is based on the principle ‘you get back what you give out’. From this perspective, the help that you get back does not necessarily come from the person you have helped.

When helping one person (by providing useful information) word will get around that you are helpful. It is this helpfulness that will encourage others to help you.

Business Growth Through Networking

Networking is the ideal approach for growing a business.

It starts with an open mind willing to share useful information with others.

This means keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities to offer potentially useful information to others, without pushing your help on anyone.

Similarly, it includes asking for specific help when you need.

The more specific your request for assistance, the more likely you are to receive the help you need.

On the other hand, vague and ambiguous requests for help are likely to be greeted by a deafening silence.

Growing a business through networking is all about people helping people—the natural process that typically leads to personal and business growth. Overthinking the process can limit its effectiveness. And remember that growing a professional services business also requires continuous development of people systems and other critical aspects of your business.