Building Business Relationships Series: The Numbers Behind Networking

We rounded up stats from a variety of surveys on networking for your business and break it all down for you.


For the next few weeks, the subject of our focus will be building essential relationships for your business. Today, we’re tackling networking.

When it comes to networking, advice and attitudes seem to pull in opposite directions between “it’s a waste of time” and “it’s vital to your success.”

From our work with Pathway clients, we know that chances are your feelings on the topic are likely at odds, too. They often track with the nature of your small business, your goals, your personal networking experiences, and let’s be honest, the weather or the day of the week or your outfit.


The numbers tell us you’re not alone. A quick run through the data from a roundup of online surveys helps paint a picture on the split between attitudes about networking and its benefits:

On attitudes toward networking…

One in four people reportedly do not want to network at all. Yet, 80 percent of respondents to another survey consider networking to be important to their advancement in business.

On time to network…

Two separate surveys found that nearly half say they would like to network more frequently but don’t have enough time, or when they do make networking connections don’t have enough time to stay in touch afterwards.

On growing your business through networking…

One 2015 survey found that 85 percent of small business owners said customers learn about them through word of mouth, and a separate 2017 survey found that close to 85 percent of open positions are filled through networking.

On networking online…

One-quarter of respondents to a 2017 global LinkedIn survey reported online networking conversations on the platform led to new business partnerships.


So what does it all mean?

Though the surveys vary by method or year, taken together they seem to say networking pays off when we do it. It’s just hard for many of us to find the time or the desire.

In other words, the data and the messages on networking are mixed because so are our feelings. Obvious, right?

What’s less obvious is how we sort ourselves out. Pathway WBC Director Courtenay Rogers has been down that road, and her experience resulted in such a dramatic shift in her networking perspective and practice that she’s become especially passionate on the subject in her work with women business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals.

Check back next week when we sit down with Courtenay for her thoughts on this subject for the next installment in our four-part series on building essential business relationships.


If you’re ready to make new connections for your small business, consider joining our Ignite360 mentorship program. As a client, you’ll be matched with a team of mentors who understand your needs and can provide you with the best advice, resources and tools for your success.