Business networking

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Not to be confused with Network marketing.

Networking' is a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. A business network is a type of business social network whose reason for existing is business networking activity. There are several prominent business networking organizations that create models of business networking activity that, when followed, allow the business person to build new business relationships and generate business opportunities at the same time. A professional network service is an implementation of information technology in support of business networking. Many business people contend business networking is a more cost-effective method of generating new business than advertising or public relations efforts. This is because business networking is a low-cost activity that involves more personal commitment than company money. Country-specific examples of informal networking are guanxi in China, blat in Russia, Good ol' boy network in America, and Old boy network in the UK.

In the case of a formal business network, its members may agree to meet weekly or monthly with the purpose of exchanging business leads and referrals with fellow members. To complement this business activity, members often meet outside this circle, on their own time, and build their own one-to-one business relationship with the fellow member.

Business networking can be conducted in a local business community, or on a larger scale via the Internet. Business networking websites have grown over recent years due to the Internet's ability to connect business people from all over the world. Internet businesses often set up business leads for sale to bigger corporations and businesses looking for data sources for business.

Business networking can have a meaning also in the ICT domain, i.e. the provision of operating support to businesses and organizations, and related value chains and value networks.

General business networking[edit]

Before online business networking, there existed face-to-face networking for business. "Schmoozing" or "rubbing elbows" are expressions used among professional business professionals for introducing and meeting one another in a business context, and establishing business rapport.

Networked business[edit]

With business networking developing more business, many businesses now have this as a core part of their business strategy. Those businesses that have developed a strong business network of business connections suppliers and businesses can be seen as networked businesses, and will tend to source the business and their suppliers through the network of relationships that they have in place. Networked businesses tend to be open, random, and supportive, whereas those relying on hierarchical, traditional managed approaches are closed, selective, and controlling. These phrases were first used by businessman Thomas Power, businessman and chairman of Ecademy, an online business network, in May 2009.[citation needed]

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