Networking is a technical term but simply put Small Business Networking is building relationships with people who become or help you find new clients and resources to do your jobs. It’s about statistics, the more friends you have the more help you will get. The difference between friends and a network is in the relationship and there is almost always overlap between the personal and the professional.
It’s okay to have some overlap. Human relations vary and in depth and frequency. Your ability to navigate this marks how successfully you can leverage the relationship to help your business. There are a two components to your network, size and quality. The larger your network the more ‘hits’ you will get to help your business while the higher quality relationships give better odds an individual will help you achieve what you need. Think of quality as a deeper, stronger relationship that allows you to ask more of a person but it’s also how strong and effective that person is in their abilities, think of knowing a judge vs a plumber when dealing with a legal matter. Although your plumber friend will give you the shirt off his back your needs are to get advise and influence in the legal arena so the judge is more likely to be helpful to you.
Lifehacker has an article about networking in your job, but this advice works very well for Small Business. Take the advice and broaden to include areas like neighborhood and church functions as well as local business activities.