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Customers or clients are important in any business, as they purchase your goods or services. In business, you have a goal to provide quality goods or services that will meet the needs and wants of these customers or clients. There are many ways to market a business and get your information out to the public, and networking is the one we will discuss in this article.

Some of you may think you don't have time to network or that you don't like to network. It can and should be a very happy experience. There are many ways to network. One important way is to join your local Chamber of Commerce. You will be included in the list of members, who tend to support each other. You can also get involved by serving on committees or running for an office in the Chamber. When you are on a committee, you get well acquainted with others; and through conversation, they get to know you and your business. You develop business relationships that lead to referrals for your business. You may also refer people to other business owners when you understand what they are looking for in customers or clients. Some fun activities Chambers provide are monthly meetings for all Chamber members, including either breakfast meetings or luncheons and business after hours. All of these events will have a short meeting or speaker and lots of time before and after to network. Take lots of business cards and enjoy meeting other business people, shaking hands, and trading business cards. It is a great way to let others know about your business and learn about theirs. An exciting moment is the drawing for door prizes. Everyone drops a business card into a bowl as they enter and names are drawn at the appropriate time. If you are lucky enough to get your name drawn, you will not only get a door prize but will get all of the business cards.

You will also go to the front to get your prize and will be introduced with a brief explanation of your business. That is priceless! When I moved to Georgia, I joined a Chamber and actually won a door prize three months in a row. I am not usually that lucky, but that is how I got acquainted and got some good referrals.

Another good networking tool is attending networking groups. You can find many on line or in printed form and can call to see if you can be invited to attend one of their meetings. There is no obligation to join a group if you visit as a guest. Hopefully, you will find one you like; but even if you don't, you will meet many contacts as you visit different networks as a guest. You will be able to pass out business cards to everyone and briefly explain what you do and the type of referrals you would like to get. Of course, there is always the before and after time that you can speak with individuals and get better acquainted. There are a variety of groups that meet either for breakfast, lunch or dinner in many different locations. They usually only allow one person from each type of business, and they will support you if you are that person. Don't be discouraged if a group does not have a space for you, as there are many groups from which to choose. You will know when you have found the right group for you, as the members will fit with your personality and will help each other. Most networking groups meet once or twice a month, so you may want to select one close to your business or home.

Other personal networking opportunities are joining clubs and organizations or volunteering to help a worthwhile cause. Basically, the more you associate with others, the better networking opportunities you will have.

Everything I have written until now is personal contact. While that is important and fun, it is important to also use social media. It is rare to find anyone in business who does not use the internet to find information on everything. You must have a well-designed user-friendly website and also, depending on your type of business, learn to market through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. There are also websites that could be beneficial or necessary to help you market your business. A good example is this website, where people are looking to buy or sell a business.

Yes, networking is a joy and extremely important for a successful business!

  • Author: Pat Jones
  • Date: June 02, 2016
  • Category: Buying a Franchise or Business
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