When it comes to business opportunities, sometimes it’s not “what” you know but “who” you know. That is the basis of networking – meeting others who might be able to help you sometime down the road. Here are some ideas about how to network when it comes to promoting your work from home business.
What Is Networking?
In simple terms, networking describes techniques used to meet others who are like-minded. For you, that would be people who are also in business for themselves. It is not just making contact and handing out business cards, but also forming lasting mutually beneficial relationships. To that end, showing interest in their enterprise is just as important as them wanting to know more about you. Some relationships go beyond business and develop into friendships over time through shared interests. Networking is a two-way street. Show your support for others and they will reciprocate in kind, possibly with advice and opportunities that open new doors for you.
Ways to Network for Home-Based Businesses
- Be prepared
If it’s good enough for the boy scouts, then it’s good enough for business. Before heading into a networking situation, practice a bit and get used to the idea of small talk. Learn a little about the event you are attending so that you can speak intelligently to others in the room. Always have a handful of business cards on you at all times to pass along to new people.
- Find local business associations
Check with the Chamber of Commerce to find out about local associations for home-based businesses. Get to know others who have started businesses. Pick their brains as to what works and what doesn’t. Attend sponsored events and get the word out about your new enterprise.
- Attend conferences
Look online and see what types of events are going on for your type of business. Conferences are places where business professionals can get together, discuss new policies and legislation and share information. If you are a private detective, for instance, events on law enforcement, future of the business and others would be useful to you.
- Create social media profiles
Social media allows one to search globally for their target market. Creating profiles on Facebook and Twitter will foster interaction between you and your customers as well as update the general public on what is new and happening in your company. For business professionals, there is also LinkedIn, a social site that caters to those who want to network. You can link your other profiles to that one so that people can check up on you before introducing themselves.
- Join forums
Forums can be found on social media sites as well as online home-based business sites. The key to successful networking online is to participate, don’t just read the comments. Post useful information for others and really get involved. It is easy to spot a spammer who only talks about their accomplishments and business happenings.