Direct sales and marketing agency Precision Acquisitions Direct have recently weighed in on the debate of whether building a community is more important than networking. The London based company; believe that although networking is an incredibly valuable tool to help businesses grow, the benefits of creating a loyal community has more significant gains.

From a young age, the need to network is drilled into minds to the point where individuals would be forgiven for thinking it is a hardwired skill. To progress in any side of life, professional or personal individuals need to put themselves out there, make strong connections and grow their network.

The concept of networking, on the whole, is not an issue, it’s the way in which people conduct themselves while doing so. Networking allows for growth as stated above, but many entrepreneurs and business owners approach networking with the mindset of getting something out of the people they meet, it becomes far less about value-added and more about a sales pitch which is fundamentally wrong.

There are a few ways in which individuals can evolve from such a mindset and start focusing on building a community. Start by raising self-awareness. If an individual doesn’t understand who they are, how is anyone else supposed to? Before professionals can start building solid connections and friendships with others, they must understand the type of individual they are and what the best ways their personality will help to build these bonds with others.

Entrepreneurs also need to change their mindset; nobody wants to involved with someone that’s all about what they stand to get out of the relationship, there can be no trust developed with this approach. Networking has turned into a solely financial practice and has moved away from what it was initially set out to do; entrepreneurs need to have a total mindset shift and focus on making connections that provide added value and not for the sole purpose of making money.

Finally, although the world is a predominately digital playground, professionals must not mistake online platforms like Facebook groups and forums as a community, nothing can ever be more beneficial to building lasting relationships that a firm handshake face-to-face. Social media metrics (likes and followers) are redundant when it comes to an understanding, identifying and growing community networks.