Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Small Business Networking - What it Means and How to do It
The nature of entrepreneurship means that networking is essential. Because people associate an entrepreneur’s business with the entrepreneurs themselves, it’s important to have many business relationships. That will help you develop contacts, and you can then develop those contacts into mutually beneficial relationships.
In order to network well, it’s important not to focus on selling yourself. The purpose is to build trust with other businesspeople and to help them. You also need to have a clear of idea of what you’re hoping to gain from the networking events that you attend. Different groups have different purposes, so make sure you choose groups that line up with your goals.
A great way to contribute to your business community is to volunteer with various groups. This will help you develop and maintain visibility and will also allow you to help those that have helped you.
An additional way to gain visibility is to make a name for yourself as source of information and help. If you’re known for your expertise and your willingness to help others, people will remember you and tell others about you.
It’s also important to know what sets you apart from other people that do the same thing that you do. You need to understand exactly what you offer, who you offer it to, and why your business is the best. You have to have a concrete understanding of and belief in your work before you can hope to convince others to choose you and refer others to you.
Bottom line: Networking is about meeting people, learning what they do, and letting them know what you do. Then, when your networking contacts hear someone talk about product XYZ that you sell, they can say, "Hey, I know someone who sells that on eBay. Let me give you their email." The more people you know, the further you will go.
You can find eBay / e commerce networking groups both online and locally. Here are a few:
eBay Meet Up Groups (Google for your city or town)
Facebook eBay Groups
Wholesale Suppliers - WAHM Forum
Using Facebook for Business Networking
Network at Business Events
How to Network for Business Online