Networking in various forums helps big and medium entrepreneurs not only to market their organization, but also discuss perspectives, practices and challenges. Networking expands them horizons, raises the bar, pushing them to strive harder and set new benchmarks.
There was Imran Khan and Chanda Kochhar. Also Melinda Gates, Bono and President Sarkozy. All attending the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, this year. The forum brings together intellectuals, the business elite, political leaders and journalists from across the world to discuss pressing issues facing the world. For some, after the routine drill of attending summits and conferences, it is time to get down to the key objective – networking. Forging personal connections can have a powerful reach and Davos is the perfect place to set networking into motion.
In the Indian context, there are apex bodies like CII, FICCI and EO that give you a similar opportunity. Parvathi Reddy, Governing Body Member, FICCI Ladies Organization, says, “Apart from knowledge sharing and exchange of ideas, such conclaves are great opportunities to interact with like- minded people. Not just from your own sphere, but from others as well. Networking is critical to running your business effectively. It’s no wonder that businessmen do not mind spending those extra thousands to attend conclaves.”
Industrial conclaves bring experts and practitioners under a single platform. Shakti Sagar, Chairman, CII, AP comments, “In the process of discussing best practices and ideas, a close network of cooperation and collaboration is formed — which is necessary in the global competitive business scenario today.”
Such conclaves are usually for the elite with small entrepreneurs paying hefty sums to attend them. Sagar begs to differ. “It is just a myth that only the elite get access to such forums. We ensure that big and small players get representation when we form panels. Contrary to popular belief, it is the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), who stand to gain most by participating in these meetings. Networking in such forums helps them not only to market their organization, but also discuss perspectives, practices and challenges.”
“There are numerous SMEs in India headed by entrepreneurs with minimum resources. There was a time when they would flock to bigger cities to set base. Today, there are many forums offering them unlimited opportunities for upgrading knowledge base in specific business areas, and increasing network bracket; which is most crucial,” says Harish Chandra Prasad, CII chairman. “These forums help us to get out of our shell and interact.”
Having access to bureaucrats is a hurdle many SMEs face. “It is difficult for SMEs to individually get in touch with state ministries and policy-makers and discuss issues in day-to-day operations. “These forums can help them connect with government officials and government bodies,” says Shekar Agarwal, chairman, FAPCCI.
Vinita Surana takes this a step further, “We are the bosses of our organizations. Forums help us grow, by bringing us in contact with individuals, who share the same wavelength and intellect as ours. Networking with them expands our horizons, raises the bar, pushing us to strive harder and set new benchmarks.”