Networking to grow your business.

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of the book “Low Cost High Impact Marketing Strategies to Briskly Grow your Business”
“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they want.”
Zig Ziglar, “Secrets of Closing the Sale”, 1984
Now that you know the importance of communication and how to create your marketing message, the question is, how do you get the message to your target audience without blowing your bank account?
We have seen that big companies can afford to mount expensive advertising and promotional campaigns. However, the small firm which is still struggling to get established in the market usually does not have a big marketing budget, if it has any at all. However, that should not lead to despair. You can still mount effective low-cost marketing campaigns that will bring results to your bottom line and enable your firm to grow to where you want it to be.
Numerous entrepreneurs have started business on a small scale and managed to grow using the tactics that we shall now discuss. You can also apply the same after adapting them to suit your particular circumstances and target market.
Networking
A very effective way of communicating your marketing messaging is by using the amazing power of networks. Robert Metcalf, the inventor of Ethernet, showed the power of networks mathematically in the 1970s. Metcalf’s Law states that the value of a network increases by the square of its nodes or components. This formula relates to computers and communication technology, but network effects also work in economics and business. The more members there are in a network, the cheaper and faster it is to spread information to them.
It’s not what you know but who you know that counts. Skill and grit will only get you so far. As an entrepreneur, if you don’t have a network you will keep reinventing the wheel. Attending events, seminars, workshops, trade association meetings- essentially going any place where prospects are found, is one of the most effective ways of marketing your products and services. You need a fat Rolodex in order to grow your business. The more direct contacts you have, and the more people you know, the better the chances that opportunities will coming knocking on your door. Remember that the goal of marketing is to tell Opportunity where the door is.
You can easily grow your network by joining business associations such as the local chamber of commerce, the Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International, as well as social and charitable organizations such as the Rotary Club and the Lions Club. Your local church also presents a networking opportunity.
My firm, Admiral Business Systems (Pvt) Ltd, has over the past year been providing effective networking platforms for entrepreneurs. Through hosting workshops and seminars aimed at SMEs we have been able to get new and existing entrepreneurs together, providing opportunities for the exchange of information and contact details among business owners, potential customers, suppliers and service providers. By bringing your marketing materials to such events, you can spread the word about your business to a targeted audience at a very low cost. To benefit, you need to master the art of networking and come well prepared to market yourself and your products or services. To find out more about upcoming workshops and seminars please check my blog website regularly. The address is: http://www.chichonip.wordpress.com.
Here are five habits you must develop or improve on in order to network effectively:
a) Sharing: It is important to know how to give to others. Networking just wouldn’t be networking if we didn’t share. We build stronger relationships with people when we are willing to share our resources, including our time, money, connections, information, knowledge and skills. People appreciate us if when we are willing to give to the relationship. People who give are approachable, and they reap the benefits of reciprocity.
b) Patience: patience is virtue when it comes to networking. Fast paced networking builds shallow relationships that offer little or nothing to the value of your business. On the other hand, patient networkers build deep, long-lasting relationships that significantly impact the growth of their business. Establishing a network that has depth far exceeds one that is shallow and frail.
c) Work for it: Nothing in life worth having comes easy without hard work. Networking is the same. That is why it’s not called NET-SIT or NET-EAT. Building relationships takes time, effort and energy. It also takes commitment and dedication to the process. However, the reward of such hard work will be beyond what we can even imagine.
d) Say thank you: Saying “thank you” shows your gratitude, expresses your appreciation and further solidifies the relationship. I can assure you that a written note of thanks for the efforts of a referral partner will enhance the possibilities of that person referring you again.
e) Follow up: One huge component of networking is following up and, more importantly, doing it consistently. Meeting people and building relationships means very little if we never bother to follow up with them. Collecting business cards and not bothering to follow up with the people is just a waste of time.
[Other topics in this chapter include: The principles of guerilla marketing; Service with a smile brings in customers to your service business; Stop selling and start building relationships; Practical no cost promotions to bring you more customers.]
This book will be available soon at Innov8 Bookshops. You can also order your copy directly for only $7.00 and we will deliver. Please email chichonip@yahoo.com and we will notify you as soon as the book is available.

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