What's the best way to network?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Mountain Man, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man
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    After starting my business 1 year ago As a communications technician I find doing the work to be the easiest part of my job.
    What I am struggling with is how to find the work. I work in a technical service industry and most work is through word of mouth, so I carry business cards everywhere. I have a few local ads as well and a web presents, but I am not seeing the customers I would like.
    The frustrating thing is I know they are out there and they don't have anyone looking after the communications systems.
    Any suggestions would be more then welcome.
     
  2. Fergal

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    What country or state is your business based in Mountain Man?

    Try joining some local business networks in your area, such as your local Chamber of Commerce. This will help you to meet other local business owners and to communicate what you do, to them. You could also consider writing some articles for your local newspaper or being interviewed on your local radio station. The aim here is to become associated as a communications technician. If you are successful with this, your potential customers will automatically think of you, when they have a problem in this area.

    Something else you could do is to use your expertise to help out local charities. They will be glad of any free help they can get and again this will help you build your local profile and to become associated with the type of work you do.

    Good luck with it and please post back with your thoughts and questions.
     
  3. Mountain Man

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    Thanks for the advice Fergal. We think on the same wavelength. I am in Nova Scotia (east cost) Canada. I have been thinking of joining the local chamber of commerce. I am not sure about the radio interview, but volunteering will be good if I can find a project or two. One thing I need to do is meet other local business people, so lectures, trade shows, seminars, etc.
    I have thought of donating to items to charity auctions, or entering a team in charity tournaments, we have golf and bowling tournaments every year. Of course these all cost money.
     
  4. Fergal

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    What about giving some of your time and expertise to local charities? There are probably some of them who would be delighted to have your services for free and if they are happy with what you do, it is quite likely that they will recommend you to other people.
     
  5. Tecknowoman

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    Local business networking (local councils and chambers of commerce), toastmasters, run your own info seminars for local business owners, find business networking events - for example n Sydney we have Business Swap who are wide and varied business owners with an educational breakfast.

    Have a killer elevator pitch that clearly lets people know what you do and gives them a reason to follow up with you about using your service.
     
  6. iamjohns

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    why not just go with flyers instead of cards or your business card stapled to a flyer , if you want to make a promotion you could tell them through out every week we will making a change or adding a little promotion to get them interested possibly to come back for more
     
  7. Mountain Man

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    I have made flyers and gone business to business with some results. You never know when you are going to meet a potential customer and flyers are a little awkward to carry everywhere, (resturaunts, theater etc.) thus the cards. I don't have a store, most of my work is on site repairs and installs. I know I need to work on my elevator speech, and public speaking would help as well.
    I am looking for a few good causes I can support, Habitat for Humanity will be building a house nearby this summer, I should give them a call.
     
  8. rapidbilling

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    Hi everyone,

    Well I think you lack in successful business networking. Here are few tips for the same.

    # Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine
    # Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings
    # Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest
    # Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations

    Hope this helps you..!!
     
  9. Kay

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    Heck, all the great ideas were already taken I was going to suggest! That's what happens when you hang out with smart folks LOL. :D

    I was about to slink away because I had nothing to add when I noticed you don't have a website or blog in your sig, Mountain Man. Do you have one? If so, can we see a link to it? We may be able to help you in that respect on what works and what doesn't.

    And if you don't, stop what you're doing and start looking into getting a domain and setting one up. It's that important. Business cards can be lost but websites live forever and if they have even the most basic of information about you they'll find you. :)

    Let me digress a moment. Honest, it's relevant! :D We were looking for a new car over the last few weeks. I live in a rural area and you wouldn't BELIEVE how many dealers I found that had no website. I was lucky if I'd find one in 15 directory listings that had anything beyond their contact details- name, address and phone number- in the online directory. Hardly any even bothered to add their opening hours.

    We didn't bother going by physically to check out their cars at all because of that. I needed to do the looking at weird hours that weren't normal business ones and that meant doing it online. Honestly, I nearly abandoned the car search in favor of calling them all to see if they wanted us to build them a site LOL. I couldn't believe it. So they all may have had a great car to offer us, and they missed out on a sale because we bought one we saw online. Who wants to run around in 110 degree heat looking at cars all day anyway if they could do it online and on their own schedule? Not me.

    A website is a must-have today, it really is. At the very least get yourself listed in the online business directories and Google Local (which apparently has changed its name to Google Places now.) Check out the website of your local newspaper too. They often have business directories attached that it might be worth promoting yourself in. And stick some of those cards to any community noticeboard you can find.

    What exactly does a communications technician do? If we know more about the kind of work it is, we might be able to give more focused answers.
     
  10. Mountain Man

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    Thanks everyone for your advice.
    Kay I do have a web site and I am glad you mentioned that. I had the site made for free, but I am not happy with it and don't have the knowledge to fix it myself. Funds are tight and I can not afford to have it done professionally. I have not been promoting it, because I wasn't sure if it would be a positive or negative.
    A communications technician (well, this one anyway), Installs, repairs and maintains low voltage wiring, phone wiring, data wiring, and coax. I also install phone systems, ceiling speakers etc. Most of my work is in small business's, and new construction pre-wiring.
    Almost everything I sell is installed by me, so an online store is unlikely.
     
  11. Tecknowoman

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    I agree with Kay though Mountain Man. Business to business can be big business online. When I was a GM my first port of call for everything we needed, especially when we were setting up new clinics and offices was the internet.
    The people who got my business every time were people I could find easily online and made it easy for me to contact them and get the info I wanted without me having to leaving my desk.
    It isn't about an online store it is about reaching more customers in a day than you can meet in a year and making it easy for them to do business with you.
    There are something like 2.6 billion local searches online per month and 1 in 3 searches online are local. People including businesses are looking for you online.
     
  12. Fergal

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    Mountain Man you could set up a basic site using something like WordPress. The site could list the services you provide and include your contact details. It would be a start, would not cost you very much and it is something you could improve over time.

    Is that something that would interest you?
     
  13. Tecknowoman

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    Just had another thought LinkedIn is a great way to find 3rd party people to refer you to businesses.
     
  14. jack123

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    Hi

    Well I think you lack in successful business networking. Here are few tips for the same. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine Ask yourself what your goals are in. participating in networking meetings. Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations.

    Thanks
     
  15. Kay

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    Exactly. An online store isn't necessary but an online presence is. A Wordpress blog is very simple to use and you can get some great free templates too. Once the template's installed it's not much harder to make a post than posting on a forum.

    Wordpress is free software because it's open source. You can just Google "free Wordpress themes" to find sites that have templates. All you'd need to buy is a domain name and hosting. A domain will cost about ten-twelve bucks to register for a year, less if you buy multiple years. You'll get hosting for under $10 a month.

    Techknowoman mentioning LinkedIn reminded me to mention joining Facebook too if you're not there yet.
     
    #15 Kay, Jul 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010

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