One of the biggest misconceptions I think many aspiring small business owners make is in thinking that by simply starting a business the money will roll in.This is often referred to as the "if I build it they will come" syndrome and quite frankly,nothing could be farther from the truth.
A new small business owner can expect to work more hours than ever before just to get the business name out there, after all, you could own 500 businesses but if nobody knows who you are or what you do, you don't own much.
Networking is an art in itself but when done correctly you can accomplish great things.Let me take a few moments and teach a little of what I have learned that has helped me grow my company.
1. Always have business cards on your person and when giving them out do not be stingy, pass along at least 3 to each prospective client.
2. Ask everyone you meet or are introduced to about themselves, people love to talk about themselves and by keeping your mouth shut and ears open you may learn very vital information that could help you.
3. Tell everyone you meet or are introduced to about your company and what it is you do but at the same time do not monopolize their time. Time is what? MONEY! Keep it short and to the point, if they have not offered you one of their business cards, ask.
4. Take time to follow up with a short phone call or email.Once again, do not monopolize their time.
5. Have and maintain a website - until you're on the internet you will not be taken seriously.
6. If you know anyone in need of a service offered by a potential client, refer that client and then follow up with a call telling them you referred them. They may decide to return the favor.
7. Anytime you are going to meet a potential client in person, dress for success. It doesn't matter if 90% of your business is web based, dressing like a bum will give off a bad impression as to how your business is run and people do not spend money on the product as much as they do the image. If your image is weak, so is your business. That is the main reason behind all the dating hotlines doing commercials with women that do not look like they should have any problems getting dates, if they were to use their actual female users instead of professional lingerie models, their business would fail.
8 If you have a meeting with a potential client, do not be on time....be 30 minutes early, even if it means you have to wait, never leave a client waiting or they will think that is how you conduct all aspects of your business.
9 Treat each and every potential client as if they are the most important because at that moment they are. Do not take cell phone calls, that's what the ignore button and voice mail is for.
10. Never underestimate the importance of a client, they may only have one small job for you to do that may not bring in much profit however they may know someone with a lot of big profit jobs just looking for the right company to do them. A lost referral is bad but word of mouth alone can kill a company so be on top of your game always.