Home business networking
Building networks is a low-cost way of bringing many advantages to you and your home business. For example:
- connecting with people helps you share information and seek advice
- scheduling regular events helps break up your calendar
- sharing recent successes with others helps motivate you to achieve your goals
- attending industry events keeps you engaged and informed
- interacting with others reduces feelings of isolation
- making contacts promotes your business and encourages referrals.
Almost everyone feels apprehensive when meeting new people, so remember: the more you network, the more confident you will become.
Network within your industry
A significant challenge for you as a home business owner is keeping up with developments in your field. It's easy to become so focused on the day-to-day operations of your business that you don't pick up on any trends and changes until it is too late, and your competitor has the advantage.
Try to devote time to networking at least once a month. Join professional or business associations or local industry groups. Set aside a budget for networking and use this for membership and event fees. Keep all receipts. Your financial adviser will tell you which fees are tax deductible.
Develop a support network
Meet with other home business owners in the local area to share your successes. This type of informal networking can be as simple as meeting for a regular catch-up to discuss challenges and receive advice to motivate and refresh you.
Increase your network of contacts
Network with other attendees each time you attend a training course, seminar, trade show, lecture or industry event. Bring a number of business cards with you and make sure to hand them out. Politely ask for one in return, and always follow up with a short email thanking people for their time - you never know when they may refer a client to your business.