Leveraging Your Network for Your Business
Posted on October 11, 2016
You’ve decided to start your own professional services business. You’ve completed all the paperwork and are ready to start working with clients. The question is where do you start to get clients? Following is a brief outline of some ways to use your current network and grow your network to benefit your company.
Friends & Family
When you launch a business, those closest to you are invested in your success. Reach out to each of them and tell them about the business you’ve started and the type of clients you are looking for. They may not personally be able to support your business, but they may be able to refer you to a company or consumer who can.
Keep them up-to-date on your business, including any new products or services you develop. When they come face-to-face with your ideal client, they should be able to intelligently explain your business and its benefits.
Before you launched your business, you were most likely involved in the industry, reach out to those you’ve work with in the past and tell them about your venture. They may be able to send you some referral business. Even better, you may be able to create a symbiotic relationship, referring clients to each other if your services complement each other.
Building Your Network in Person
You can’t just depend on your current network of contacts. You need to go out and actively grow your network. Attend local events and industry meetings. Is there an industry organization you can join? Can you become actively involved? Is there an organization for your ideal client? If so, join it. It is one thing to join an organization it is another to actively put yourself in front of its members and build relationships. We will cover networking in more detail at a later time.
Building Your Network Online
First, you need to identify the ideal social media platform for your business. For professional service providers, LinkedIn is the best way to get in front of B2B decision makers. If you’re selling a product directly to consumers, a platform like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may be a better place to build a following.
No matter which platform you join, be sure to actively engage with potential clients. Follow the rule of Internet marketing – talk about what they want, not about yourself.