Networking & Small Business: A Winning Combination
Networking is to small business, as water is to plants. Networking, whether it be online or through traditional channels like Chambers or BNI, is crucial to the continued growth of any small business, but it isn’t enough to just join a networking group. The most successful networking professionals are active participants who give back just as much as they receive, by providing leads and volunteering for committees and leadership positions.
Jason Kuller, owner of Signs By Tomorrow – Chesapeake has been a successful networker since he and his wife, Lacy, opened their store in 2005. Jason is a firm believer that you have to do much more than just attend weekly meetings. Small business owners that volunteer for committees and hold leadership positions will be more successful in building relationships and referral business. There are still more tips and tricks that can help you become a successful networker, including:
- Expand your reach by joining a few groups in your area, rather than just one.
- Be creative. You don’t need to just join Chambers & Business networking groups. You can expand your networking to charitable associations, professional organizations, etc.
- Go to every meeting with a goal list. Ask for introductions to specific decision makers within your ideal company
- Give it time. You need to build trust before someone is going to refer their valued customer. Remember, their reputation is on the line as well!
- Don’t be selfish. You have to provide leads of your own and be willing to contribute your time.
- Join committees. By becoming a leader within your groups, you will be able to provide colleagues with firsthand experience of your knowledge and capabilities.
- Promote your groups and try to recruit new and effective members to help your groups grow and make them more valuable to participants.
So now you want to know the actual impact of successful networking? Jason provided us with the following success story:
“I have been in the same networking group with a property manager for five years. The manager had since left the group but we still kept in touch. The manager asked me one day if Signs By Tomorrow – Chesapeake could replace a 20 year old sign. I visited the site and noticed that the apartment complex had grown and required more signage than was requested. Because the manager and I had built such a strong and trusting relationship over the years, the manager accepted my additional signage recommendations and the job grew from one property, to providing signage to all communities under that property manager. “
Jason and his team at Signs By Tomorrow – Chesapeake contribute this project and their consistent double digit growth to effective networking, building relationships and above and beyond customer service.
For more information on Signs By Tomorrow – Chesapeake, please visit www.signsbytomorrow.com/chesapeake