How Peer-To-Peer Networking Helped Our Businesses Grow

John Paff, Founder, Fort Wayne Marketing

3rd Thursday Client Connect at NIIC

One of the compelling reasons for moving my startup marketing agency into the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) was the opportunity to network with other business builders. As a state-certified technology park and Opportunity Zone, the NIIC is a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. While these new neighbors represented many different business sectors, we all shared a common goal of putting ideas into action and growing our new enterprises together.

The strategy worked. When my company first moved to NIIC, I was working as a solopreneur in a single-desk office. Today, we have a much larger space and a team of eight. The peer-to-peer networking available here has helped us develop our business.

In addition to the spontaneous “creative collisions” that happen by sharing an office park with other entrepreneurs, the NIIC team has created intentional networking opportunities. Once a month, NIIC hosts 3rd Thursday Client Connect, a brown-bag presentation by one of the resident business leaders. We’ve had the opportunity to learn from our neighbors and to share some insights of our own.

For example, at a recent presentation by our friends at EXEControl Global Systems, we learned how to safeguard our company from 90% of cybersecurity threats by implementing one simple protocol. The insights shared by the experts in NIIC’s Technology Wing were timely and practical.

My team also has had the privilege of sharing useful information with other NIIC residents. This spring, we were invited to present recommendations for social media marketing. We described best practices and offered insights gained from serving national clients from Boston to Los Angeles.

The give-and-take among NIIC residents has been mutually beneficial. We’ve become a regular client of one NIIC business, and five of our NIIC neighbors have become clients.

Peer-to-peer networking is vital to a new business. It is human nature to do business with people you know and trust. Here at NIIC, participation in networking opportunities has helped us develop our business in several key ways:

  1. Building Relationships: Networking can lead to trust, loyalty, and long-term collaborations that are essential for business growth.
  2. Word-of-mouth Marketing: Positive interactions with other professionals can result in word-of-mouth referrals, the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tool.
  3. Access to Resources and Expertise: At NIIC, our company has had access to a diverse pool of resources, knowledge, and expertise. We have learned from experienced entrepreneurs who have already navigated their own startup challenges.
  4. Gaining Confidence and Visibility: Engaging in NIIC networking events has boosted the confidence of several of our team members. Presenting ideas and insights to others has sharpened their communication skills and built professional credibility.

Launching a new business can be challenging. Through our three years of NIIC residence, we have developed a network of peers and mentors who have offered valuable support and timely encouragement.

We have been able to seek advice, share experiences, and learn from others who have overcome startup challenges.

Locating at NIIC has opened doors to new opportunities and helped our business to thrive in a competitive marketplace.


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