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The importance of Networking and Learning from your Peers

Posted by Gayatri Wood on 22 Apr 2015

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We've all heard the sayings that two heads are better than one and that a problem shared is a problem halved. The longevity of these sayings demonstrates its applicability throughout the centuries and the basic underlying principle of being able to learn from your peers. This also scales, as the knowledge and help of a community within an industry will pay dividends to you and your business as well. A great way to build up and learn from industry peers is to network. Networking can be one of the most valuable uses of your time in terms of return—and not just in monetary terms.

Conferences and networking events are full of like-minded individuals. If you attend the right events, they’re full of people that you can work with or learn from in some way. Most events will incorporate time for informal chats with similar people, and these can often lead to many opportunities and potential ways you can work together.

Face-to-face networking events create lasting impressions and can always lead to future opportunities for both parties, in terms of help, advice and business. It can also motivate you as to how you can go further in your business, you can learn by discussing common problems, or you can just expand your industry knowledge.

Making networking and learning from peers an important part of your business will result in forming and maintaining a strong contact base, serving you well for years to come. You’re marketing your business and yourself, and best of all you are creating connections. These events are all about mutual benefits and peer learning is a two way relationship. How can you offer a service or help another? There will be times when you may need help or advice, and you will want to have built a strong network to draw on.

We attend and network at the Xero Roadshows. We love the practical insights into the technology and processes that are shared, and also meeting with and learning from like-minded individuals. There are always some fantastic faces there - new and old!

In order to make the most out of your networking opportunities and events, it’s important you prepare. Do your research on who’s attending and who you’d most like to connect with. If it’s a particularly large event, you may want to reach out to them beforehand to ensure you get to meet them. If there is an event hashtag, like #xeroroadshow, make sure you use it on Twitter and keep up to date with other attendees.

Ensure you’ve worked out transportation options and always make sure you have an ample supply of business cards or an alternative way to contact you available. If there’s any additional catch ups or networking opportunities surrounding the event, attend those that are most applicable to you as well.

If you’re new to attending the Xero roadshow, there are some additional ways you can prepare yourself and make the most of learning from your peers as well. It’s a great idea to consider beforehand the processes you’d like to streamline or make more efficient. These could be specifically around improving the efficiency of the accounting practice itself, a widely applicable issue that’s hindering efficiencies for some of your client base, or an industry specific issue affecting a group of your clients.

When looking at the different add-on partners that are available, think through what information you’ll need to gather from them. What specifically could they help with? With the high number of add-on partners out there, it’s important you make the time to talk to and learn from the ones that are best suited to the issues and efficiencies you’ve highlighted. Some additional things you may like to consider asking about is:

  • Do they have onboarding, training and support available?
  • How they integrate with Xero
  • What other products they may integrate with as you can find products that can work with other add-on’s as well
  • What the cost of the add-on is and what time the add-on will save you that can be relocated to other tasks in the business

Lastly, as with any networking and relationship-forming, make sure to stay connected with those that you meet. Take a look at the business cards or contact details you’ve received and email, tweet or connect with those people, while it is still fresh in your mind. We look forward to seeing you at the Xero roadshow and any other networking events!

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