Sunday, 17 June 2012

Networking for Small Business Made Easy

One of the most effective methods of growing your business, especially if it's a service orientated is through networking.

Is your picture of an effective networker someone who comes across as an extrovert? Then think again.

Here are five easy ways to implement a business networking strategy, some of which you may be doing anyway without labelling it as networking.

1. Identify from all your contacts those who could refer business onto. Where there is a level of trust between you and your contact this should be easy for the contact. They won't be under any pressure to make the referral, so when they do refer business to you it will be genuine.

2. Share your materials and ask for theirs also. This way it v doesn’t appear the relationship between you and your contact is heavily weighted in your favour.

3. Offer to take your contact out for lunch or coffee where it’s appropriate. You don’t want to make them feel obligated they have to refer business to you, so only do this where it feels natural and doesn’t put them in an embarrassing position.

4. Get some visibility, volunteer to serve on a committee or other group at your Chamber of Commerce. Or, if there is some association that represents your area of business attend their meetings and volunteer to server on any committees or groups that are formed. You’re bound to end up building relationships with at least one person.

5. This last step is easy and you’re probably doing already, and this is keeping up-to-date with the magazines, publications and websites relevant to your area. If ‘White Papers’ are published request a copy so you are the forefront of the future thinking that surround your industry/business area.

Acting on these simple steps launches you into the world of networking which isn’t that scary a place to be. Networking will give you the opportunity to actively drive business your way.

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