Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Networking Not Working?

For small businesses it is essential and compulsory to get your name out there! There are a number of ways of doing this of course but to make an obvious point - if no one knows you are there you can have the best ideas/service/expertise in the world and no one will see it.
The truth is that the networking meetings you may have thought I was referring to initially are a part of a web of marketing initiatives you can set up. The point is very much that they should all work together.
Presuming that your small business depends on the personality of one or two people for new business then the presentation to the outside world should take advantage of some obvious outlets available to you.
Each one supports and is supported by its neighbour. The marketing web includes a web site.  80 thousand businesses in Wales have no web site I saw recently. These days anyone under the age of let's say, 50 and quite a few over that age will search for things on line. I rest that case.
Moreover if your business intends to catch a younger demographic - then a mobile site is an essential addendum. 20% of searches are now done from mobiles rather than PCs. 
Back that up with references in a chatty way on Twitter and personal facebook. In a more business like way on a Business Facebook page and in a more serious way on LinkedIn.  Also include some longer pieces on blog sites. Now make those refer to some of the others and you are building a net. Have a nice leaflet to hawk around, prepare some quick answers to questions like 'What do you do?'  and you are ready for networking events.
The business message 
The link is a consistency of message. That doesn't mean bang on about the same things incessantly. It also doesn't mean grab someone by the throat until they agree to buy from you. It is all far more subtle than this.
It all has to fit and be part of your brand, your presence and indeed your personality on line. So too does all your communication. Have a nice email heading. Have a nice badge with your name on it for those events. Have a banner to put up. Work up a bit of a talk to make yourself memorable then deliver it. Make a few points on discussion forums.
Once established this all becomes part of your business personality. You will get to the stage when you can mix and match and adapt to what is going on around you.   The result? People will know you, like you and trust you to work for them or to recommend you. You have arrived!
But don't stop at that point. You have to keep up the presence out there. Oh, and you need to find time to do some of that work you have said you are good at....
Bob Shepherd Associates at http://www.bobshepherdassociates.co.uk/marketing.html  builds up businesses by helping you take a practical view of what you have, what you can do, and how it all can fit together. For a monthly sum that won't break the budget (there's another topic to consider) you will save so much time money and effort in developing your business, or perhaps setting up your business, that the investment will repay itself over and over. If you are in SE Wales or nearby, ask for an initial meeting at no charge to explore the possibilities and open the door to a new level of business.  

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