Make the Most of Networking

Make the Most of Networking

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  1. Making the Most of Networking

    Once you have decided to let the internet community know that yes, you are getting your business off the ground and proud of it, you are flooded with offers in both your inbox and snail mail.

    Now, these may not lead to direct sales or those wonderful small business grants you may have heard about but they can help you to build a customer base.

    Web directories, social networking sites and other forms of social media are nice and some people have used these to meet hundreds of people in the online community.  Some are paying and returning customers.  However, as it is getting easier to start an online business, you as a new business owner need to step up the competition.

    Say you have a bakery that has received rave reviews.  What about the fat, gluten or sugar-free bakery that has also gotten rave reviews in your area?  Will you accommodate the growing diet trends or will you brand yourself as a delectable delight that proudly does not skimp on ingredients so it’s worth the indulgence? 

    These are things to consider when it comes to your brand and target demographic.

    The same goes for when it comes time to get out and meet people.  You don’t want to spend time at a place where your brand is not appreciated or is likely to get lost.  Especially after working a long day at the place that pays the bills.  If you are fortunate enough to have sufficient seed money to get your business going, this is not the time to become complacent in meeting people.  For those punching a clock, time is still a big factor because you have to be ready to make the definite money the next day.

    Many non-profits and community agencies are getting in on helping individuals start a business either as an additional or a sole source of income.  Some may arrange networking sessions with local businesses and financial institutions.  This is where you will want to put your best face forward by making sure your business cards are legible, clean and you have plenty to pass around.  You may have marketing materials on hand as well that you may want to distribute with caution.  Get a rapport going with an organization (where you are likely to see some sort of return) before handing this out.

    At sessions (or mixers), steer clear of robotic or generic sounding individuals that sound off the same advice or mission statement that can be found online.  If you feel so inclined, sign up for their mailing list but save your marketing tools for the actual prospects.

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