The value of networking cannot be overstated when you're starting a business. It means building up a network of people. That might mean just having someone's business card, or it might mean speaking with them twice a day on conference call. It will depend on the contact and the nature of your business relationship. This guide introduces you to:
It's miles easier to find the right service, investors, suppliers, partners, PR advisors, and everyone and everything else you need for your business when you know the people you're dealing with or they've come personally recommended. It saves you days of searching through Yellow Pages and Google for what you need, and it is a much better guarantee of quality. And the more people you know, the more business opportunities you'll discover - people do business with people they like. If you're looking for investors or partners, there's absolutely no substitute for personal contact.
There are always networking events going on for the sector you want to get in to. Look online - www.meetup.com is a great place to find relevant groups, and www.gumtree.com might help too. And get email subscriptions to relevant online newsletters detailing events for your sector. Attend industry conferences. The potential to network online is now greater than ever, and it's a fantastic free tool - Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and of course Smarta are great places to start.
Everyone is a potential business contact! The more people you meet and tell about your business, the bigger your network will be and the more business opportunities you will have. Carry business cards around with you everywhere, and practise describing your business succinctly. Don't be overbearing or annoying, but gauge when someone's interested and discuss how you could help each other.
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