Building Your Small Business Through Local Networking

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It's all about connections!Lately there has been a lot of talk about networking. I’m a big promoter of it myself. The problem is that there are a lot of networking groups out there and not all are applicable to your business.

Here are some tips to get the most out of networking.

Mixed groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, a local small business networking group, or a gender based group work well for meeting potential clients, referrals, suppliers, lunch partners, and business partners. Don’t expect immediate results, though. These work best when you commit to the group and put in a genuine effort to build relationships. These groups are great for practicing your networking skills and building relationships for the long term.

When you get into targeted networking it’s a different story. This is about actively looking for customers in a confined space. If your ideal client is in real estate then you go to the real estate groups or networking events. Even if you don’t find a client you’ll probably still walk away with some valuable information to put to use later. The same thing holds true for any other market segment.

How do you find the right events that will be a gathering place for your targeted audience? Define some definite niches before you set out. Even if you can work with anyone this will help you pinpoint your strategy and boost your effectiveness. When your in the pool with your targeted audience you’ll be more focused and can respond more effectively to inquiries. In your prospects mind you’ll be less like a salesman and more like a informational resource that is far more valuable to have.

Don’t think because you run a retail business that these tips don’t apply to you. These tips are applicable to anyone and everyone. If your a member of a small business group or local chamber you can go out now and put these ideas to work.

Do you have any questions about networking? Give me a call or send me an email! I’ll be glad to help!

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