One of the fundamental rules of growing your business is to never stop networking. Expanding your network contacts might prove to be your most powerful weapon in these tough economic times. In a recession when businesses and individuals are tightening their budgets, traditional marketing isn’t always the best approach. Emphasis can be placed on the fact that it’s not always what you know but who you know that matters.
For small business owners, now might not be the best time to invest substantial sums of marketing dollars on print advertising, written proposals and sales campaigns. While you might not get much traction from these traditional methods, the relationships you have built over time are invaluable. By fully utilizing your network, you can not only survive during the recession, but you can actually thrive. It is a fact that deals are still being made on the golf course, at the country club, the local business boosters’ luncheon, after hour cocktails, social and professional networks.
In additional to person-to-person networking, more and more people are also turning to online networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to stay connected. If you’re not sure what groups will best serve your interests, start by joining the groups, or platform, that your friends and associates are joining. To prevent getting carried away, use your time wisely by setting limits on yourself and focusing your interests. As a personal user of LinkedIn, I have been able to stay connected with former bosses, co-workers and industry associations.
Opportunities have a strange way of popping up in unexpected places. By taking advantage of the many networking resources available to you, the greater your chances of landing the right transactions. Without a robust network of contacts, you cannot possibly reach the broad range of opportunities available to you. Figure out what works best for you in terms of in-person networking and virtual networks. Decide on the frequency in which you will dedicate to each medium of choice.
Never stop networking because you never know when you might need help. In these uncertain times, you want to have a wellspring of contacts in the event that you need to draw upon your human capital at a moment’s notice.