The 7 Biggest Benefits of Online Networking
The benefits of online networking aren’t just the obvious reduction in the need to travel and the associated time away from your desk that brings.
Online networking brings many more benefits that means people who previously thought that networking groups weren’t for them are starting to change their mind.
The biggest benefits of online networking for small businesses
- Time saving
- Business focus
- Access to wider networks
- Cost effective
Online networking offers a significant advantage over in-person networking for those who are less able to physically attend meetings. This could be due to living in a remote location, having caring duties or having physical disabilities that make travelling a challenge. Being able to attend meetings from home or another location of your choice opens up the world of networking to more business owners who previously found it tricky to attend in person events.
We are all busy people and whilst it is lovely to meet others in person, sometimes it is difficult to take the time out of your day to travel to in person networking. Online events enable you to make much more efficient use of your time as you can easily move from one meeting to the next.
Although the Athena online networking meetings follow exactly the same structure as the in-person meetings, virtual meetings are more productive. This is largely because meetings start and finish on time and more can be achieved in the 2 hours. Using breakout rooms for managing open networking and business training slots within the meeting are an efficient way of ensuring that we stick the timings in the agenda.
One observation that Athena regional directors have noticed, and from getting feedback from members, is that some people feel that online networking is more inclusive than face-to-face networking. They feel more comfortable with break-out rooms for open networking rather than having a sometimes-awkward moment when you try to get yourself included in a group conversation at an in-person event. The breakout room format enables quieter members to have a voice and to feel more heard and therefore more included.
Another of the online networking benefits is that meetings tend to be more business focused. Breakout sessions which have replaced the informal networking at the start of the session are an opportunity for the group leader to pose business related questions for discussion. This means that there is added value from the meeting.
Increased access to wider networks
With the restriction of distance removed, online networking provides a whole world of opportunity to meet new business owners who might be your ideal client, might be able to refer you to your ideal client or might be someone you could collaborate with. The world really is your oyster! When it comes to Athena though, the Pass+ feature which was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic has been a massive benefit to many members, enabling them to visit new groups far away from where they live and to meet people they otherwise would never have met. We love this feature, which is why it will continue to be an ongoing benefit of the Athena membership.
Although the membership fee remains unchanged, online networking is a more cost-effective option for members. There are no travel costs to get to meetings and although you now supply your own lunch, the ability to visit other meetings for no extra change more than makes up for the lack of food.
But what about in-person networking – will it return?
The short answer is yes, but all our monthly meetings sill stay online. In our Athena region (South West Hertfordshire and North Middlesex) we will arrange occasional events face to face where it makes sense. We will also encourage members to resume face to face 1-2-1s where they feel it is appropriate.
Who would’ve thought a year ago that we would have embraced online networking to such an extent that it is now the preferred and ongoing format for our meetings? Clearly the benefits of online networking are outweighing the disadvantages.
If you are a woman business owner who would like to meet other like-minded professionals in a non-pressured environment – the comfort of your own lounge – then please get in touch. You may visit one meeting and one Cappuccino Connections before you need to make a decision.
We welcome women from all walks of life and all business disciplines, although there is a lockout in each group, so chat to me to find out which group would be best for you.
My groups are:
Watford Wednesday – 3rd Wednesday
Watford Thursday – 2nd Thursday
Bushey – 3rd Tuesday
Rickmansworth – 3rd Thursday
Harrow – 1st Thursday
Kings Langley – 4th Tuesday
Do come for a visit – you will be warmly welcomed by all my members.
If you’d like to chat to me to find out more about the benefits of online networking and how it can support your business, please email me at email@example.com or ring me on 07733 076775.
You can also connect with me on LinkedIn