When starting a new business, setting up the business is often the easy part; finding and then expanding the customer base is often the difficult part. Businesses need to become good at two things, what they do and also networking. For many business owners this is a real challenge as most of us like to think of ourselves as good at whatever it is we do and not necessarily as a pitch / sales person. Through networking, the business leads generated are the lifeblood of any business and the process of lead production, qualification and development is key to determining the rate at which your business grows.
How Does Business Growth Happen?
One of the keys to business growth is a well-developed business network. Business networks consist of current and potential customers, vendors, associates, employees and other professionals in your immediate and relevant industries. Business growth needs to be a constant priority, networking and communicating is important in growing a strong network.
Online business networking has become popular as the Internet has become more interactive and personal. More and more, people connect to each other on social media sites and refer business, make suggestions, answer questions and lend support with people across the world, whom they have never met in person.
Another good resource for making business connections is to attend relevant business networking events. Local business networking events are designed to connect people living in the same area with other business people. They allow people to discuss their business interests and needs with peers and other business people in an informal matter. Many of these connections are helpful in the long-term even if they do not produce immediate results.
The strategies of business networking online are very different as the scale of what is possible is so much greater. Of course the basic rules of good networking and communication are fundamental no matter the venue, platform or medium and in many ways are identical regardless of whether the networking is being done in person or online. It is important to realize that unlike the off-line world, all things communicated on-line are published and will be seen over time, so be mindful that it is not something you would be uncomfortable with everyone knowing.
Online relationships are often rooted in mutual collaborations; there is great value and respect for making your knowledge and expertise available to others. Helping out others often can result in being known as an expert and a resource for others.
Remember the objective of good networking is to generate new relationships directly or via referral and to develop these relationships into good sales leads that result in a business conversation. So asking the right questions and having a tight well-rehearsed follow up strategy is critical. Many people become great at networking and develop many leads that unfortunately do not result to their potential due to poor questioning and a lack of attention to the lead. Business referrals can only be forthcoming and relevant if new acquaintances understand whom to refer. When someone asks, “How can I help you?” be ready with a quick informative answer and a more detailed follow up if necessary.
After a referral you must follow up quickly. Otherwise, it reflects badly on the person who tried to help you out. One must also give the referrer a call to thank them, no matter what the outcome of the referral was. Armed with these strategies, anyone can and should enter the world of online networking.
At Milkshake-factory, we are on a mission to make your small business marketing hassle free. You will find a lot of articles on our blog that can help you gain insight in the world of digital marketing. We hope these are going to be useful to you and we also look forward to your feedback on what else would you like to learn to help you to grow your small business. Consider hiring Milkshake-factory, complete marketing solutions, for all your marketing needs, contact us for a FREE consultation.