Networking is great. You meet and connect with new people, promote your product and find new clients. Business, any business, YOUR business, can be more and do more than that. By working together, and building a smaller, tighter, more determined community, small companies can really thrive.
Every business wants to have a friendly face, what’s better is to have a genuine, friendly attitude. I’ve said it before, it’s nice to be nice and people like nice people, business doesn’t have to be cut-throat. Success is better when it’s shared.
It’s important to think big but it’s important to start your networking on a local level. Reach out to the people on your doorstep that are potential customers or compatible companies you could work with. Swap ideas, share services, refer people to them, working together to benefit everyone, socially and financially. A good reputation is essential and building a positive standing in your local community gives you a solid foundation for improving your connections.
With local contacts and a good reputation you can start to build a strong, worthwhile business community. Most companies will rely on outsourcing for part of their business: accounting, legal matters, supply, plumbing, any number of things. When you have a relationship with another business, promote it. You will find that if you refer customers to them they will do the same for you when they encounter someone who could use your product or services. A strong recommendation is worth a thousand ad’s.
Do what you can for local charities. If you hear of a charity doing good work in your area support them however you can. You can always do something. You can fund raise, volunteer or donate your product, service, time, or a portion of your profits.
Volunteering is great. If you are planning a team building weekend, do something that matters, like renovate a community park. At Scruffy Dug we donate our services when we see a local charity doing work we like. It brings goodwill, feels great, and makes a difference, plus you will build relationships that strengthen your business community.
Community Not Network
To create a network, you connect with people and businesses. The idea is not just to make a list of contacts but to find a way to co-exist, grow and make positive changes with those groups. Don’t just look for people who can help you, but people you can help. Expand your business, while they expand theirs, creating a driven business community that can really make a difference where it matters most.