As a home business owner you may not even realize that you still need to network to ensure that your business grows. You may also feel overwhelmed with the idea of networking when you have a home business. But you need not worry - networking doesn’t have to be painful, and even an introvert can do it successfully. Just follow these tips.
1. Set a Goal for Networking – Without a goal, you’re simply dreaming and moving haphazardly toward a moving target. And, we know how that works. It doesn’t. You need goals for networking in general and specific goals for each type of networking you do, both online and offline.
2. Practice Your “Elevator Speech” – When people ask you what do you do, what will you say? You don’t want it to sound practiced and like a speech, which is why the term elevator speech receives so many groans today. Instead, be natural and talk about how you serve your audience. When you put the focus on the audience, you’ll find that it passes your lips with less bitterness.
3. Use Social Media – Develop excellent profiles and keep your social media activity up to date, planned, and targeted. You never know who you’ll meet online who can help you reach your business goals. But instead of focusing on that aspect of it, focus instead of being a good resource to the people you meet.
4. Meetups – There is a service called Meetup.com where you can meet all kinds of people and plan all sorts of events. Make the most of your endeavors by creating an outstanding profile and setting a goal for your participation.
5. Who You Know – The best thing to do about networking is to start with those that you know. Ask them if they have colleagues and acquaintances that they can introduce you to. If you incentivize people to recommend you to others, then you’ll meet more people who want what you’re offering.
6. Get Involved Online and Off – Don’t just stick to one or the other; both online and offline networking will work to help you get to know people, build relationships, and make more sales. It doesn’t matter today if you have a home business; people are used to it now, so no need to recoil at the idea of telling people.
7. Your Local Chamber of Commerce – Many chambers of commerce leave home businesses a little cold. But if you get involved, you can create a niche for yourself by offering to lead training for home-based business owners, sponsor events, and do other volunteering activities.
8. Attend Industry Events – Whatever your niche, there is an event that corresponds to it. Find the events that consist of your audience and attend at least one big one per year. If you can get on the speakers' list or buy a sponsorship, that’s even better.
9. Volunteer for a Charity You Like – While networking shouldn’t be your first thought when you volunteer, ensuring that you choose a group to volunteer for that consists of your target audience is fine. If you’re going to volunteer anyway, you may as well do it for people who want you.
Networking is an important part of building a business, whether you have a home business or a bricks-and-mortar business. Start with something small and then build as you go. You won’t regret it.