Your time is valuable! Your days already seemed packed with so much activity. If you’re in the field still, you’re running calls. You’re giving sales presentations and leaving bids. You’re balancing the books at night. You’re answering the phone in the middle of the night if someone has an emergency. You’re trying to find a few minutes to spend with your friends and family… and, oh yeah, you need to eat and sleep at some point.
Okay, so you’re busy. You’re growing a small business and it takes time. But there’s something you should absolutely be making time for right now. This is incredibly important if you’re a small business and don’t have much of a marketing budget—and it’s even MORE important if you don’t have a marketing budget at all. What am I referring to? Networking.
Networking is a good way to stir up new business and familiarize others in your community with your company. In fact, networking (not web social networking) has become a science, where professionals can join several networking groups within their own community and reap the benefits of shaking hands and passing out business cards at regular meetings. There are probably dozens of networking groups in your community. You can find them easily and quickly on the Internet.
Another good way to network is to get yourself out into the community. You could do this by volunteering to work with local charitable or business organizations. There are many resources for finding these groups, including the local Chamber of Commerce or Athletic Association. These groups regularly sponsor public and private events that need hundreds and thousands of volunteers to meet and greet event participants.
Although most organizations frown on volunteers who market themselves, it is not unusual for volunteers to make major connections simply during normal conversations. Like web social networking, the more connections you make, the more chances you have to make a sale. If you’re a small business trying to grow, every single connection, every single sale, matters. You simply have to make time to make those connections.