The reason is simple. Home-based businesses, small businesses and sole proprietorship all need to advertise to promote their business, and meet new contacts and prospects that could become customers. In addition, face-to-face networking is the most economical form of business advertising. The challenge is sometimes insurmountable due to the lack of either budget, staff, or both.
The costs associated with networking:
Quite often to meet this challenge, they join a chamber or one of the big-3, for profit networking groups in an attempt to gain some visibility, make meaningful contacts, and hopefully leverage those contacts into income. This approach can cost a minimum of $300 initially, and require you to spend countless hours that may not result in any ROI. One very well known drawback of meeting with the same people, at the same location, at the same time, every week, is the very real potential of “bogus” referrals and/or leads being passed. Another drawback is the possibility of members getting so use to hearing your intro or elevator pitch, that they stop listening.
What meeting time of the day is most convenient:
Most of the networking groups meet weekly, either for breakfast or lunch and may require you to attend a certain percentage of meetings, make a required number of referrals, plus pay for your meal even if you miss a meeting. In some of these groups, the leaders may benefit financially. I have found success in the networking group I belong to that meets monthly at dinner time, and at different area restaurants.
An even bigger dilemma could be deciding where to do your networking:
I’ve always had a preference for regular networking groups where you can really get to know the members. I prefer to know something about the people that I will be referring my contacts and customers to, and a regular networking group allows me to do so. For those who may not be sure where to join, here are some excellent choices. These groups all have their own structured format, and the purpose of giving referrals and helping members increase their bottom line. These groups are not for persons who may not be a fan of structured guidelines.
After spending many years trying to find the right networking venue that fit my goals, I finally realized that medium and large-sized businesses weren’t very likely to do any meaningful business with a home-based business owner, or sole proprietor. In addition, I became tired of feeling like a fish out of water while sitting in a room full of medium and large-sized business representatives. With that realization, I now spend most of my networking with other home-based business owners. I also try and send everyone I meet in those settings, who has a mailing address on their business card, a hand written (pleasure to meet you) note. Whenever anyone gives me a referral, I make it a routine to thank them with a handwritten note. I feel very fortunate to have been introduced to this online greeting card system 12 years ago, and I’ve been using it ever since. In fact, I credit that system for keeping me in business for the last 12 years. If anyone reading this post is a little curious, you may learn more at https://www.sendoutcards.com/11401. The experts say “networking is all about building relationships”, and I’ve found that when many of my contacts receive my hand written notes, they acknowledge via email, text or phone call. That’s the makings of building a relationship and a potential customer, because if and when I call them back, I control the conversation.
So, I will sum things up by saying that when small businesses become successful, they also grow in numbers of personnel. If you’ve made some really good relationships and loyal customers along your road to success, the many layers that develop between you and the loyal customer will begin to create distance between you and them. The result could be the customer feeling short changed because they’ve lost that direct line that once existed between you. The one way to lessen the impact of that happening is to have a system in-place that can send them periodic hand written notes and/or greeting cards that assures them that they are not forgotten, and their continued business is appreciated. If this concept of being able to send greeting cards and gifts from your smart phone, tablet or computer spurns any interest to viewers of this posting, I can help.