Peer networking can get a bad rap, sometimes. We all know that person who just wants to drop names and doesn’t seem to really know what they’re talking about. But that doesn’t mean that all networking is fluff. In fact, it can be extremely helpful to your professional growth as well as to your activity center.
Preparing for the Future Through Peer Networking
Let’s face it: no one knows precisely what our personal and business needs will be in a few years. Maybe you’ll be in a position to branch out and will need a manager for another location, or perhaps you’ll extend your activity center’s scope to include more skills. Or perhaps your current use of your Jackrabbit Software will need to expand to meet your center’s needs as it expands.
Connecting with other Jackrabbit users can be one avenue of peer networking that can prove helpful at various stages of your business. Mitzi Perkins and Jeremy Limberger, owners of Tumblebus Central Alabama in Sylacauga, AL, explain how they found this kind of networking helpful: “As new users, it was invaluable to be able to talk with others who are using Jackrabbit and have them helping us understand how to do things to get the most from our software.”
Doing Relevant Research Through Peer Networking
We all know that there are some questions we can’t find answers to at the library or even on Google — or whatever search engine you prefer. When you’re in need of accurate, current, first-hand information, networking is often the best way to find it. Information that’s critical to your business can often be revealed through collaboration with other business owners. Not only can you benefit from others’ experiences, but you can allow them to benefit from yours as well.
Jon Aardema, Owner of Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta, explains how significant networking has been to his organization: “Working with businesses like ours is hugely important to our success because operating a children’s activity center – and more specifically a gymnastics gym – is a tough business with little useful data or budget available to gym owners to help with solid decision making. It’s to our advantage to work together to share our successes and discoveries so we all have the potential for success.”
Increasing Your Comfort Level with Networking
Just like anything else, the more you talk with and build relationships with your peers, the more comfortable you’ll become with networking, in general. This kind of regular interaction and personal growth will help you to be able to interact more readily with those outside your current circle in the future as well.
As you gain experience talking with others who have various strengths and opinions, you’ll gain comfort with your own perspectives and will be better able to share your ideas without feeling anxious or defensive. The more comfort you gain in conversations, the more you’ll stand to benefit from networking and be able to pursue it in the future, perhaps even with leaders in your field.
Continue reading with Part 4.
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