In preparation for an article that I´ve been working on, I began doing some research into networking. Some key points that I ran across during the research phase seemed great enough to pass on to you. If you are running your own business, you have to make sure that you are getting out there and selling yourself. Of course, you don´t want to seem pushy, as that will turn off most potential customers, but if you are too shy to open your mouth and talk about your business then you won´t do as well as you could. So, here are some of the tips that I read that I thought were good points.
1. Network in unusual places. You don´t have to only attend trade shows and conferences to network. The idea is to get your word out to both potential customers and to people who might be interested in helping you or whom you can help. So, keep this in mind as you are at the grocery store, attending your child´s soccer game, or getting your haircut.
2. Always leave the house prepared. When you met new people, don´t be afraid to hand out your card. Keep them everywhere: in your glove compartment, purse, diaper bag, and anywhere else that will make them easily accessible.
3. Listen more than you talk. After introducing yourself and your business, listen to the person to whom you are talking. Hear what they say about similar products, businesses, or even your business idea.
4. Keep a file handy of other businesses to which you can refer customers. If something comes up in conversation with a potential customer and you can refer that person to another company, do so. Ask them to tell the company by whom they were referred. If you are helping other businesses, chances are they will reciprocate the favor, which will in turn increase your business.
5. Don´t be shy! You can´t afford to be. When you own your own business, you have to be proud of what you do and you have to love talking about it. That doesn´t mean you have to brag; it just means that you want to share the news because you are so passionate about your job. You have to open your mouth to get the word out.