Hi all, Naomi Burgess here. I’m going to tell you about the importance of connections and the role being well-connected plays in business. In today’s world, solitude and isolation don’t equal success – on the contrary, they are the tell-tale signs of your business’ inefficiency and of the fact that it’s falling behind the times.
Communication is the key
For example, if you don’t engage and communicate with your clients, how can they trust you? In order to provide effective solutions for them, you need to know their needs and expectations, and you can’t do that if you’re not communicating with them on a regular basis. But don’t overwhelm them with e-mails or cold-calls – keep your communications concise and as tailored as possible. This applies to your current, as well as prospective clients. Networking is very important – do send a follow-up e-mail after you meet a potential client at an event, and keep in touch with your current ones.
Engage in social events
Speaking of networking, attending industry events are a great way to promote your products or services. They might take time and cost money, but they’re a worthy investment – it’s very possible that you might meet with your current customers who can recommend you to their connections, also present at the event. And you never know – you might learn something from other industry players who attend such events and maybe even meet potential partners! If you enter into a partnership, it would mean brand new target markets, expanded target audiences, and a wider range of products or services. It goes without saying that all of that would lead to new income streams and would bring your business to a whole new level.
However, even if you’re not prepared to spend your money on conferences or suchlike, make sure to take advantage of any referrals you might get from your current customers. When it comes to business, each of the six degrees of separation counts and the more you take advantage of them, the more customers would be introduced and retained. I’d bet that each of your current customers has at least five connections that can become your potential clients, and so does each of them, and so on. This is how long-term business relationships are built, how new doors are opened, and how new markets are explored.
Ways to achieve your network
There are many ways you can establish your own network, really; depending on your business and the industry you operate in, you might find that online seminars, for example, work better than expensive conferences, and vice versa. This is yet another thing you can learn by keeping in touch with your customers and focusing on their needs, rather than on your own. In fact, I believe that it’s very important to take the time to analyse your clients’ needs and expectations by directly communicating with them, as well as attending the relevant industry events. A successful businessman, or businesswoman, would be able to learn a lot about what their clients want at such events.
Online seminar programs helps
Online seminars, or webinars, are also a way you can get support for your business and develop the skills necessary for running it to the best of your ability. Along with aforementioned conferences, lectures, mentoring programs and other learning experiences, webinars are all excellent sources of information. Whether you are new to entrepreneurship or just want to learn some more about a new market or trend, don’t be afraid to seek the help you need. As I wrote at the very start of this post, working alone isn’t lucrative anymore – you can save a lot of money and time by asking for help. Look around you – there are so many free and low-cost sources available to you, and you can easily incorporate what you’ve learned into your venture.
Communication with customers and prospective clients is, of course, one of the most important things you can do to make sure your business runs smoothly, but, unless you’re a sole trader, you’re likely to have people working for you, and communicating with them is just as important. Staff meetings, message boards, and even social outings – they can all contribute to your business’ success. I’m sure you’re a brilliant, intelligent person – you’d have to be in order to set up a business and keep it afloat after all – but you’re not alone, and quite often, the key to further growth and success is trading ideas and feedback between the staff members. Everyone, especially in today’s world, comes from different backgrounds and can contribute in one way or another – don’t hesitate to take advantage of that and to capitalise on your colleagues’ experiences and opinions. This is particularly relevant if you’re in a partnership with someone, whether you’ve known each other for a long time or met at an industry event, for example. Chances are that he or she would always have something to contribute to the business. It’s always good to have another pair of eyes (figuratively speaking) to look over your business decisions, but it’s even better to have a set of smart, experienced staff members who can bring something unique to the table. And do make sure to also engage them in seminars, conferences, or other training methods I’ve described above.
To finish up, I’d just like to stress, once again, that, if you’re not communicating with your clients, you are likely to find yourself stuck in a very limited target market and your business won’t be able to evolve and grow the way it can with successful communication and networking.