Savvy micro business owners can never overlook the significance of small business networking in making the critical connections they need to expand their firms. Interrelating with would-be business partners, shareholders, or clients promotes loyalty and a strong business rapport which later open up new doors.
And so far, we’ve discovered lack of time as the major stumbling block preventing micro business owners from networking—it’s hard to spare some hours to attend conferences or events when you have a buzz of activities going on in the office.
But because you can’t do without networking, here are great ways to make sure you execute it despite your busy schedule.
Make use of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a business social media site that links experts for nearly all industries. The platform hosts over 500 million users from more than 200 countries worldwide. To network via this platform;
- Create a LinkedIn personal account with your photo and contact info.
- Add information about your company so that those you plan to network with can easily tell what company you own.
- Build a business page to showcase your company on LinkedIn.
- Link your email account to automatically add your contacts or search for contacts by typing in their names or firms they work for.
LinkedIn is a game-changer in the networking space because it enables users to form groups by industry or interest to ease access to like-minded businesspersons or clients from the comfort of their office or home. What’s more, LinkedIn allows you to join professional groups where you can advise each other and ask questions to get help to expand your business.
Organize a Meet and Greet at your physical store
Sometimes you have to meet your partner, client or investor physically. It helps strengthen the bond. While devoting time for an exclusive meeting may seem difficult, combining your networking efforts with other goals like brand recognition and linking with new customers can make it worth your day. An excellent way to accomplish all three is to host a meet and greet within your business premises if you have a physical store.
Your first step should be inviting fellow small business owners in your industry or just those in your area. That way, you can interact with other entrepreneurs, learn more, and exchange ideas on how to streamline your company operations.
Plan a set of related activities to ensure everyone networks and benefits from the event. Make sure there’s enough room for attendees to intermingle and get to know each another. Expedite interaction by arranging tables where attendees can gather, but inspire everybody to move around the place. That way, you’ll achieve all three motives on a small budget—you can get extra funds for this by seeking a merchant cash advance.
Partner with another business in a Cross-Promotion
This strategy works well for the small business owner looking to network with prospective customers. You can partner with another company, preferably not in your space, but one dealing with collaborative products to avoid competition.
It can start with simple steps like leaving coupons or flyers in one other’s business locations, and get as complicated as forming a collaborative marketing plan to increase awareness of both brands. Cross promotion exposes businesses to new customers and cuts down marketing costs for business owners.
Networking exposes you to the right contacts, would-be customers and shareholders. It is the micro-business owner’s responsibility to find the time and draft a budget for this task.