Whether you have a new small business or have been operating for years, networking with other businesses and business owners is a key to success. Some business professionals call it strategic networking while others call it social networking, either way, networking with other business owners is a sure way to climb the professional ladder in any industry. Networking with other businesses and business owners is a wise decision for several reasons. First and foremost, it is usually a free way to market and advertise your business and services. Secondly, networking with other business owners can allow you to maximize your resources. Additionally, not only can strategic networking among other business owners help you market yourself and your business but to find potential business partners. Everyone knows that word of mouth advertising is the best kind. It is free, fast, and reliable. Usually word of mouth advertising comes from happy customers wanting to share their good experience. Well, when you network with other business owners about your business, they will have the chance to meet you and get to know all about your business services. Whether or not that particular person is interested in your services, he or she may know someone who is. Networking allows you to get the word out about your business for free. When you network with other business owners you are also opening up the possibility of maximizing or increasing your resources. This does not necessarily have to refer to monetary resources and clients but can include new vendors and contractors as well. For example, as you network and discuss your business services, you may find yourself talking to the manager of a business that can complement your product line. Networking can prove to be a truly rewarding endeavor resulting in many symbiotic professional relationships. Strategic networking allows for business owners to meet their direct competitors face to face in many cases. Additionally, networking allows for business owners to meet other business owners who are in the same field, but may not be direct competitors. This allows direct competitors to get an edge on each other and keep business fresh. Competition is key to strong businesses – it keeps the creative juices flowing for the best products and services possible. Furthermore, networking allows for business owners who are in the same industry but not directly competing to meet and possibly engage in new partnerships. Strategic networking among business owners is one of the most effective ways to build a successful business. Many business owners continue to network even after their initial start-up years. Continued networking throughout all stages of business allows for new professional relationships and opens the doors of possibility of new clients, new resources, and new partners.