Owning a small business requires a firm commitment in order for it to succeed. What many small business owners neglect is the power of business networking. Making powerful and strong network connections will not only build your rapport with other small business owners but it will increase your business substantially. Small business owners have a unique opportunity to network with other small business owners so that customers can be referred for services that a business may not provide. For instance, a landscaping company owner may notice that a homeowner is in need of new windows, recommend his networking associate, and vice versa. Both companies will profit and the homeowner has the benefit of getting a reference that is reliable as they have already seen the work of one business and was pleased.
Plan a small business-networking event where you can connect with other small business owners in your community. This event should be the first of regularly quarterly meetings where small business owners in your community gather to offer suggestions, secrets and tips for improving business as well as meeting and getting to know other business owners. Offer a short presentation on a small business related topic leaving adequate time for attendees to connect with one another, which is the primary object of this event.
In order to gain the most from a business-networking event, have a specific goal in mind. Do not attempt to meet each and every person attending the event but try to build relationships with business owners than can benefit you the most. In return, make sure that you can explain to them how you can benefit their company. This does not mean you should ignore most of the people attending the event; however, you will need to weed through people finding the ones that you will want to cultivate long-term business relationships. Remember the key to successful business networking is not only looking for what someone can do for your business but also having an impact on growing someone else’s business. Moreover, you must be able to use the latest technology on your company such as good online CRM for small business.
Another key to a successful business-networking event is to follow up within forty-eight hours with the key people you meet at the event. Make sure that you send a personal note inviting that person to lunch or dinner to continue your conversation about how you can both help each other grow your small businesses. Then begin growing this business relationship by learning how each of you can help the other expand their business. When you do receive a referral, always follow up on the referral with twenty-four hours and also send a thank you note to the person who referred the new business. Always be conscious of how you can improve your networking and of new techniques for marketing your business and the small business network you have created.
Jane Castro is a journalist and media enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Bacolod in the Philippines. She loves skating, scuba diving, and archery on her free time.