If you are one of those dedicated people, who invests a lot of their time developing a network of contacts, I have a question for you:
“How valuable to your business, (in financial terms), is your network of contacts?”
I ask this because in my experience, many small businesses focus almost exclusively on developing networks of people, with little influence in their marketplace!
You can end up wasting thousands of pounds worth of your time and money on local networking events and joining networking groups; whilst simultaneously limiting the time you have to actually RUN YOUR BUSINESS! A lose-lose situation.
Although a local Accountant or Bank Manager can be an excellent source of credible referred business; not everyone in your local business community has credible access to your target market.
Without credibility, a lead or referral is worthless!
This is because when a person who lacks credibility recommends your business to someone, you become associated in their mind with that ‘non-credible’ person. I wrote recently about a Lawyer whose law firm has suffered terribly; after he joined a networking group and had his good name associated with some hard-sell tactics, used by a few of his fellow networkers to generate leads!
Of course, one of the most effective ways to network today is from your desk! Millions of people have totally ditched traditional, time-consuming networking, for free online networks. I use one myself called Twitter which is excellent!
There are also more formal online networking groups like ecademy and linkedin that you might like to explore – neither of which I use or endorse! In any case, the costs will be massively lower than traditional networking. So will the demands on your time – essential for people like us who run small businesses!