I'm being a little outlandish here, but for small businesses this is still the biggest source of new business, of new suppliers and, often, of new staff. Without good networking skills, you will struggle to build your business as quickly as you want to.

There are, of course, lots of  material online about how to improve your networking, but these are my quick points:

  1. listen to what people have to say
  2. are there people you know who may either be able to help them or they could help? If you offer to introduce them to someone, make sure you do
  3. Follow up. You only get a few minutes with them when you meet at the networking event, so you need more time to really understand their business and how they help their target audience.
  4. Keep in touch. Ensure you regularly remind them that you exist, so when there is an opportunity for you (whether they need your services or they know someone who does), they remember to get in touch.

I hope this helps