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Networking can increase your client and customer base. Meet more people, inform them about what you can do for them, and you increase the chances that they will call you at a future date.
Networking also increases referrals. And we all know the value of referrals.
Networking events, social media, and other methods can draw more attention to your business. And more attention is what is needed.
Example: Della runs a video operation. She works with small and medium size businesses making videos for them. These are used in conferences and on social media to help those businesses spread their word. She decided to begin running networking events at her studios. Once each month Della gets the word out about the next networking event. She has made arrangements with local business people to attract more attention to the event. A local caterer furnishes some goodies. A local business person is a featured speaker. And a local wine shop furnishes several bottles of bubbly. The events are popular, they are informal, and they serve as a venue for local businesses to meet each other.
Example: DeWayne is a business coach. To punch up the awareness of his operation in the local community, he started a monthly networking meetings. He made arrangements with a local restaurant to use their meeting room and to furnish a lite meal (there is a charge, of course). To get the word out, DeWayne puts each upcoming event on social media, and he posts on his MeetUp site. MeetUp.com offers this to anyone wanting to have meetings--clubs, groups, and networking people. DeWayne's business reach has expanded with more clients becoming aware of what he can do for them.
Example: Robert runs a small construction company, handling projects both large and small. When he completes a job (residential, commercial), he always goes in for a follow-up visit. Here, he sometimes gets additional projects, but more importantly, he asks for referrals. It's a type of networking his way through the community. And we all know the value of referrals.
Many groups run networking events. Chambers as well as professional business associations run them. Or you can run them yourself, as shown in the examples.
Networking can take several forms. Put networking to work in your business using the methods that work for you.
Doing a networking meeting too frequently can work against you. Once a month is about right--if you are planning to do one yourself. Attending others gives you a choice. Whatever you do, don't blow it--use networking.