Using Networking as a tool for Business
As an entrepreneur the most powerful method of getting immediate business is by networking. Networking means by Connecting with new people and reconnecting with the ones you are not been in contact for some time. These contacts mostly include family & friends, and so connecting with them is not such a hard thing.
Many people believe and say that they do not want to bother their family or friends, or people might also say that they want to keep their business and personal relations different, but this doesn’t make sense as if you have a great product or service to sell then you should consider your friends and family first, it’s your duty to at least inform them about those products or services you are offering. Imagine a situation when one of your friend or a family member purchases a product from the market which is the same product you deal in but he/she purchases it from your competitor, in this case you will regret not informing them about your business.
However Networking doesn’t only mean being in contact with Family & friends but it also means making a good contact base, having a contact base is very important for a business to survive and progress as these contacts at times may become your customers/clients, your financers, your partners, etc. and that is why it is necessary for an entrepreneur to keep relations and good relations with all the contacts in the contact base.
- Reconnect with old contacts:
Old contacts, by that I mean those contacts whom you have been into contact some days or months or even years ago, such as school / college friends, old colleagues, old friends you have not been in contact with for some time, as they know you and can remember you. You can reconnect with them by sending a text message, on an occasion or also on some social network etc. by this way you will be able to maintain lots of your old contacts and this will help you expand your contact base.
- Use Social Networks:
The existence of social networks have made the term ‘Networking ‘ such an easy thing. Nowadays you don’t have to remember occasions like birthdays etc. and that is why you can be in touch with people by just sending a birthday greeting text to them, this has made relationship management such an easy task. There are sites like LinkedIn etc. focused on business and professional relationship and networking, however there are also sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. which can help you be in contact with friends and make new ones, all of these social networks can be used to create an online identity of yourself and your business as well. Having an online identity has become important as nowadays there are a good percentage of people who prefer buying goods/services online or at least people would check for an product or brand online before buying it.
- Promotion / Advertisement / Publicity:
Networking definitely helps in business but it has to be managed well, and proper use of contacts is to be done so that optimum results can be gained. The method is by Promotion / Advertisement / Publicity. As many a times we meet people and wonder whether we should talk about business or not, but then if you do not want to feel embarrassed you can not directly promote your product but just give hints or indirect topics can be brought into discussion where you would get the chance to talk about your business. You can advertise and promote your products / services on social networks by the way of paid advertisements, posts, status updates etc. However proper care should be taken while doing these things as too much of publicity, advertisement, & promotion of your product by yourself would irritate people and they would start getting annoyed and irritated by you which will harm your business reputation and progress as well.
- Think about Quality, Not Quantity:
The success of your business also depends on your network, but if you just go on making friends and adding them to your contact base then you will not be able to concentrate on business, the reason behind this is we have a limited capacity for relationships, and ‘Friending’ with everyone we met in the High school / College or on the Street will make your life unmanageable and full of stress. To manage more contacts than your capacity, you will have to hire help or adequate staff for that particular purpose. For these reasons we should concentrate on the Quality of the contacts we are making, and not the Quantity, as just making more and more contacts is not of any use.
Hereby these are some of the points to be kept in mind for working on the Networking Strategy for your business. However this is a result of research and thinking and cannot be considered as an Expert Opinion or Advice and also I would thank you for reading this post.
Image Courtesy of ' Woman Explaining A Network With World Map by Photokanok' / FreeDigitalPhotos.net