Business networking provides lots of opportunities to not only build your own business, but to help others as well. When you are networking, you are building up a stable of business partners who may or may not be customers, but who you can recommend to people to help with whatever problems they might have. The hope is that you will have a good enough relationship with these partners that they will return the favor by bragging about you to those they know might be able to use your services.
So where do you find these people? Well, that depends on who you’re looking for. I recommend you focus most of your attention on looking for “members of your tribe”. These are a very narrowly defined set of either ideal customers or ideal referral sources. Based on previous articles, I presume you have narrowed your business focus to a set of products & services that tend to serve the needs of a particular ideal customer type. Maybe it’s new mothers with babies, or weddings, or fine art. Whatever it is, if it’s narrow enough, your customers will share a lot in common. That means they are likely to know each other. Hence, if you do a great job for one, others will find out about it.
So now that you know who you’re looking for, where do you find them? Well, ask yourself where this type of person hangs out regularly both on line & in real life. Then position yourself to be there on a regular basis adding value to them. For example, if you are doing business portraits, you may want to join Linkedin groups for attorneys (Linkedin.com). Then start contributing to those group discussions with information your tribe will find useful. Also, see who the members are & offer to connect with them. That way, anything you post will have an opportunity to be seen by them.
Another great networking resource is Meetup.com. There you can find groups of real local people who share any common interest you can think of. If there isn’t already a group of the people you want, it’s easy to start one up & those people will find you there.
David Coblitz – The St. Louis Artographer
“I help interior designers save time & money while taking your walls from bland to grand.”