Grow Your Company with Great Networking
Building a network is important for any business. Not only can networking help you share problems and look for solutions with others in your situation, but you’ll find a ready source of referrals, suppliers, and customers through networking.
Successful networking requires persistence, give and take, and patience. It relies on regular contact, frequent updates, and a clear picture of what you want out of it. Here are some suggestions for building your network:
- The friends and family connection. Let your friends and family know you are in business and what you have to offer. Someone who has a relationship with you is more likely to take a chance on your start-up. And, if you have been in business for a while, don’t let those contacts forget that you’re a valuable resource.
- Maintain a database. Keep an up-to-date list of customers, suppliers, and professionals, such as lawyers and accountants. There are many contact management systems for all budgets and business types. These contact lists become an essential networking tool to ensure long-term business relationships.
- Stay in touch with past clients. Unless you maintain a relationship with customers – current and previous – they may go elsewhere when they need your product or service. Make a regular “appointment” to update them on what’s new and exciting in your business. Encourage them to visit your website by providing inducements, such as contests, discounts or giveaways. Social media – including Facebook and Twitter – offer a quick and easy way to update and drive traffic to your website
- Have an active and engaging social-media presence. In addition to being a valuable resource for keeping in touch with past clients, social-media platforms offer a great way to meet new prospects and convert them to customers. It also can establish your credentials as an expert in your field so that potential customers will think of you when they have questions.
- Market presence advertising. Market presence advertising is a method of keeping your name and contact information available in the marketplace. Traditionally, this was accomplished through newspapers or direct advertising. While these traditional methods have upsides, today there are a number of other engaging technologies available.
Many businesses have diverted their market presence budget over to their websites.
- Engaging website. An engaging website is a must for any business. Your website doesn’t have to be complicated to update, nor should it be costly.
There are many options, from free sites where you maintain the site, to complete solutions hosted by companies with serious expertise in this area. The costs are commensurate with the services.
- Be active in the community. Find a cause or activity that you care about and take an active and visible role in it.
Let group members know about your business, but don’t succumb to pushy sales tactics; this is one network you don’t want to abuse.
It’s sufficient that you’re recognized as an active member of the community who gives back – one that your potential customers can trust.