20+ Fascinating Networking Statistics Every Small Business Owner Should Know in 2024

As a consultant who assists numerous entrepreneurs and small business owners, I always emphasize the importance of networking. Connections provide access to talent, partners, mentors, clients, and critical advice.

However, many owners I work with are skeptical about dedicating time and effort to networking. The data reveals why building relationships is vital for any growing company.

In this article, you‘ll discover insightful networking statistics that demonstrate:

  • Networking‘s impact on careers and business growth
  • How professionals currently network
  • Unique networking behaviors across demographics
  • A breakdown across gender, age, and other groups

Let‘s dive in to understand why networking must be part of your small business strategy.

Networking Is Linked to Career and Business Success

The numbers reveal that networking delivers clear advancement for both individuals and companies.

  • 79% of professionals say networking is key to career success, per a 2017 LinkedIn survey
  • Similarly, 78% of startups believe networking has been crucial to their growth, according to 2013 research from Forbes
  • Networking allows businesses to tap into talent more efficiently. 67% of hiring managers say recruiting through referrals is less expensive than traditional hiring

Furthermore, networking unlocks opportunities that may not be publicly posted.

  • An incredible 85% of today‘s jobs are filled through networking, according to CNBC data from Apollo Technical

I‘ve seen this play out time and again with small business owners I advise. Partnerships, mentor relationships, and even new hires often originate from their networks.

Key Takeaway: Dedicate time to networking as an investment into future career and business growth.

Many Recognize the Value of Networking But Don‘t Follow Through

While professionals understand the power networking, many fail to nurture those valuable relationships.

  • 68% say they prefer in-person networking instead of virtual solutions, per Market Splash
  • However, only 48% of people actually stay in touch with their networks, according to additional data from Market Splash
  • The #1 reason is lack of time—49% say this prevents them from maintaining contacts

I coach business owners on the dangers of neglecting your network. Contacts made today can drive major opportunities months or years down the line.

Key Takeaway: Block time on your calendar to connect with your network, whether grabbing coffee or sending a quick check-in message.

Unique Networking Opportunities Across Demographics

Certain groups network more actively in specific ways. Small business owners can learn from their behaviors.

Networking Among Small Business Owners

  • 70% of small businesses turn to social media for networking, according to Zippia
  • Additional Zippia data shows 28% of business owners leverage commutes to connect with contacts

In my experience coaching startups and small companies, I emphasize creative networking strategies like these.

Millennial Networking Patterns

  • Over half (55%) of Millennial professionals use their network to uncover new job opportunities, per Team Stage research

Don‘t neglect networking with Millennial talent—this generation clearly leverages connections to advance their careers.

Gender Differences

  • 57% of male LinkedIn users tap into their network to land jobs, according to TechJury
  • But networking success is evenly split across genders, with 26% of women and 25% of men securing roles through contacts

I assure female business owners that networking can drive growth regardless of any perceived "old boy‘s club." The outcomes are similar for all who tap into connections.

Key Takeaway: Learn networking approaches across demographics relevant to your business. Identify optimal channels to connect with your target talent pools and partners.

3 Ways to Boost Your Networking Game

I coach business leaders on proven techniques to build authentic, productive relationships.

1. Set Aside Regular Time

Consistently block time on your calendar, even just 30 minutes each week, to nurture your network. Follow up with old contacts, set virtual coffee dates, or attend local business events.

2. Bring Value to Your Connections

Networking should focus on genuine relationship building, not just taking value. Offer thoughtful advice, make introductions, or share an interesting article.

3. Track Your Interactions

Use a CRM or spreadsheet to monitor your networking connections. Log the date and key discussion points for each interaction. Review regularly to identify slippage.

The Bottom Line

The data clearly shows that networking delivers tangible growth. While many business leaders recognize its importance, they fail to consistently nurture relationships.

Use the statistics and recommendations in this guide to build networking into your regular schedule. The payoff in future opportunities will be immense.

What resonated most with you from these networking statistics and tips? Let me know in the comments!