Small Business Networking Ideas: Who You Know and Who Knows You

How to build and broaden your network of business contacts.

Making contact during the holidays is quite normal, but any time of the year is a good time to contact old friends and make some new ones. The process of meeting people and telling them what you are doing and asking them for advice is the beginning of networking – and growing your business.

There’s an old saying, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” Sorry I don’t know where this comes from, but it still holds true today even in the age of the Internet, e-mail and the other technology we have at our disposal today.

The goal is to get the most out of the contacts you already have. Take a former business contact out to lunch. Ask for his or her opinion about some problem or project you have been working on. By listening to their point of view you will possibly get some new ideas.

If you are working on a business plan try to contact someone you know who has expertise in business growth. If you are working on marketing try to get someone who can give you some tips.

Involve yourself with many different people, from professionals to working people. Everybody will share their own unique experiences, giving you new ways to look at the things that have been keeping your business from moving forward.

Join a professional organization in your field. If you can’t afford to join, at least offer to speak before one of their meetings. This will give you the chance to meet people who have been in your particular field longer than you have.

You’ll also meet people who are new to your field and will possibly share a fresh perspective on your business and markets.

Even “important” people, those you might never think to ask, will return a phone call when they know what you want to know in advance; or, at the very least, they will have an associate call you with the answer to your question, so don’t be afraid to ask.

I’ve run my consulting business on this principle. I call my friends; they call their friends and so on until I have the meeting or advice I need to get my job done.

About half of the people I’ve met in my various jobs I’ve run into later on after the job was done. I may have had to ask them a question, ask them for help, ask to see them, or I may simply have seen them across an airline waiting room.

I’ve learned that if you are stuck on a problem, almost any technology can be learned if you know someone near the source. Or, if you don’t know anyone, you can look on the Internet to find the right people to ask.

I’m convinced people want to share their knowledge with you. For instance, when I needed to know about blood pressure while I was working on a project I simply called my personal doctor and he was very pleased that I thought to ask him. And that’s the way it has gone pretty much with everyone else, too.

Article © Copyright 2002 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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