Extending your professional network
Even if your day-to-day business demands your presence the whole day long, be sure to plan time to build up a network and acquire further knowledge. Go to trade events and attend business talks in your industry. In this way, you’ll obtain valuable business tips from other businesspeople in a short time. You can formally enter into new business partnerships or acquire customers and orders informally. Finding new, more suitable commercial premises is often easier with personal referrals. Office communities or interest groups may emerge if you want to change something in your town or industry. Perhaps you will develop new business ideas together with network partners. Give luck a chance.
At the same time, you should remain informed about new developments and opportunities in your industry so that you can continue to capably design a high-quality and attractive offer. As the saying goes, “the competition never sleeps.” Sometimes, not being informed about new regulations and requirements can be very expensive. This primarily affects regulated professions but also other areas of activity.
A network is the contact or social interaction between you and other people, groups, organisations or companies.
You can find out more about committees, networking events, entrepreneurs’ get-togethers and other events on the website of your business development agency, chamber of industry and commerce or chamber of trades. Also, specifically look at which regional networks and associations are active in your town, even if you still feel unsure about communication and don't know how to build your professional network. We would like to encourage you to contact other people either in your area or in other industries. Sponsorships, mentoring programs or further training can be helpful in this regard. There are also special networks for female entrepreneurs and businesspeople that can support you with advice, information, qualification, coaching, contacts or an exchange of experiences.
There is a large number of networks, clubs and professional associations in Germany. We have compiled a List for you to give you an initial overview.
Keeping your specialist knowledge up to date
Contact this organisation in your city or region if you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Chamber of Trades. Both can help you with the most important information and new regulations. You can also find out from the business development department what you should look out for as a self-employed person. The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) is an important trade association for self-employed people in the hotel and catering sector. It informs its members about current developments and offers various services. Membership costs a fee, but training and advice are offered in return. There are similar associations in other professional areas.
The following two examples show how important it is to always be informed and stay up to update:
- Example 1: The so-called Cash register Act was done away with in May 2018. Since January 2020, all self-employed people with shops and restaurants are allowed to use only certain electronic cash registers that meet strict billing conditions. Anyone who does not comply must pay a high fine of up to 25,000 euros.
- Example 2: The Data Protection Standard Ordinance has applied since May 2018. This makes it compulsory for everyone who has a website to include a privacy declaration. Since then, even sending newsletters is only possible under specific conditions.