The other day I wrote about networking in Make Developing Your Business a Priority. And it’s true. networking is the best business development method.
Maybe not quite as high a priority, but of significant value, is networking to make your business operations better and more efficient. I’m talking about the value of meeting other small business owners who perhaps have more experience with the types of vendors and services that you are trying to locate as a new business person. Networking is a good way to get referrals to accountants, attorneys, commercial realtors, computer service companies — and I’ve just covered A to C! You get the point. So making time to network provides you a double bonus. You get to spread the word about your business, and you can learn from other business people.
If you don’t feel comfortable networking, here’s a tip: Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves and their businesses. Questions like, “How did you get started in the refrigeration business?” is a good way to overcome your initial discomfort with networking. Let the other person do the talking. Try to keep questions open-ended — How? Why? — rather than questions that could be answered with a simple Yes or No. And asking questions is also the best way to learn.