“Networking” is one of those words that can strike fear in people. Introducing yourself to people can be nerve wracking – but it can also help you build your business. You never know who you’re going to meet, or how that person may help you – or how you can help that person. It’s time to get over your fears and start networking!
Traditional Events – Chances are, your town hosts some traditional networking events. Start with your local Chamber of Commerce. They may hold some breakfast meetings or lunches. They may have a focus to the meeting, where some speaks about a topic or it might just be an open networking event. Either way, you’re sure to meet a lot of local business owners.
Local Organizations – If you don’t want to go the traditional networking route, look for other organizations you might like to try. It could be a women’s organization or a local historical society or volunteer group. Find something you’re interested in and would enjoy being a part of. You’ll meet new people and the topic of your business will eventually come up. Your new friends may turn into some loyal customers!
Partner With Other Businesses – There are many ways to partner with other local businesses, where you can support each other. Is there a shop or restaurant in town that would allow you to sell your products in a corner of their space for a small commission?
Do you offer a product or service that could help a local business owner? For example, could you knit some cute coffee mug holders that the local coffee shop could sell to their customers? Or do you make a home product? Connect with local realtors and mortgage professionals who are looking to give their clients a gift when they buy a new home. A realtor or lender could be one of your best customers!
Think Outside The Box – You can get creative and have fun with finding new ways to meet people. Do you have a fun craft that kids could do? If so, ask some local daycares if you could come in and help the kids make a gift for their parents. You can ask the daycare to cover the cost of the supplies.
Then, help the kids attach a card to their gifts. You can put your business information on the back of the gift card. The parents may end up visiting your site to see what else you offer, and may become your customers!
There are lots of ways to expand your business locally. The best part is that you can have fun while doing it!
Do you have any other ideas to add to the list?
By Crissy Herron, www.IndieBizChicks.com