Business networking in the 21st century

Business networking in the 21st century remains a critical component of building and maintaining contacts with like-minded entrepreneurs and existing and potential clients.

Business Networking in the 21st Century

Networking in today's world can be a very different prospect to yester year. Technology has created a whole host of new platforms with which businesses can network effectively.

The internet and social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with people from relevant organisations and networks and share knowledge, attract new clients and recruit new employees.

The combination of new social media tricks of the trade with the traditional means of liaising with useful resources and forging new working relationships means business networking is multi-faceted in the 21st century.

Make use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is arguably the largest business-related social networking site on the internet and consequently is a great platform to build and manage your professional identity. LinkedIn has over 10,000 groups that you can join and participate in discussions and debates whilst connecting with corporate blogs in an effort to engage with your professional network.

Shout about your expertise

Don’t be afraid to display your expertise to potential clients and fellow professionals. Use social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to build a virtual contacts book and offer regular snippets of advice that add value to your followers’ day-to-day working lives. If you’ve got something more in-depth to say why not consider writing a personal blog that can be a great way of building contacts and trust in an informal manner.

Encourage word of mouth

One of the main benefits of social media networks is that they encourage effective word of mouth marketing for products and services. If the response is positive and it goes viral it can be a major coup for emerging businesses. Similarly, it can be a very damaging experience if businesses receive negative feedback. However, in the main it is great for brand exposure and for building trust with potential clientèle.

Show your face at events

In order to become a familiar figure to like-minded entrepreneurs and potential connections it is important to engage with local business networking organisations and show your face at as many events as possible.

Death of the business card? No way!

Although you could be forgiven for thinking business cards may be somewhat defunct in their purpose with the accessibility of the internet and social media, it is still a very successful tool for attracting leads and referrals in the 21st century. A business card still makes that all-important first impression of your business to potential customers and subsequently it should be eye-catching and memorable, whilst being a treasure trove of contact information without being mundane.

Be selective with new contacts

It is highly likely you will meet a multitude of names and faces when business networking in the 21st century. However, the likelihood of staying in contact with all your new connections is very slim. Consequently you should aim to be selective with the contacts you touch base with on a regular basis – ideally entrepreneurs and businesses that can offer you something extra.

Business networking remains a crucial skill for successful entrepreneurs and effective networking will certainly add an extra dimension to your businesses’ growth potential.

Is paying for music a thing of the past?

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With the availability of streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio all available for free and unlimited access, there are fewer people than ever actually paying for their music. According to a recent article on TechCrunch, Tom Conrad, the CTO of Pandora, said that about 50 percent of Americans don’t pay anything for music while another 40 percent only pay $15 a year for it.

If you were to walk into a big retail shop ten years ago, one of the biggest sections in the electronic media department would have been a massive collection of compact discs. Today with the likes of iPhone, and Android, CD’s have made technologies like compact discs seem old and obsolete technologies of the past.

The biggest culprit to the recording industry has been the proliferation of bit torrents and peer-to-peer piracy software. According to Torrent Freak, the Canadian Broadband Management Company says that forty percent of all internet traffic in North America comes from either Netflix or Bit Torrent. While the original intention of this sharing software was to make it easier for business to transfer important files, most of the traffic from it today comes from the illegal trade of music, television shows, and movies.

While services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rhapsody have a paid-premium option available, their free services are so convenient that there is no real reason to purchase them. Unless you want a completely advertising-free experience or simply want an unlimited data cap on what you can access per a week, the free versions of these programs work just as well and include almost all of the features. Ironically, the only companies that actually have to purchase these plans are the small retail stores that are selling you the music.

Spotify's LogoThe RIAA is having an abysmal time selling digital copies of singles and albums to consumers. Not only are the versions that are available online cheaper and make less money, they are also much easier to steal, copy, and distribute illegally over the internet. Google is partially to blame for this widespread availability of illegally traded music.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, if you type in your favourite artist into a Google search, several unauthorized and pirated versions of the song will show up available for stream or download. While Google is not implicitly to blame for this, they are turning a blind eye to the practice by ranking them higher in search results.

The person who is most responsible for the digitisation of music is the late Steve Jobs. When the iPod first appeared on the market, Steve spearheaded the movement to make iTunes the ultimate way to purchase music online. In an article in the Inquirer, David Hughes (head of technology at the RIAA) claimed that Steve was a hypocrite for claiming to be a spiritual leader but not putting enough piracy protection on digital downloads.

There is no turning back from the digital way of selling and listening to music. We have come too far in our technological advances and reverting to older methods such as CD’s and cassettes would seriously hamper our tech advances.

The music industry will need to find new ways to make income such as advertising, product placement, and incorporation in order to continue to make a profit… or it could just go away and make music an art form.