Networking and Community Involvement as a Small Business Owner

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Networking and community involvement as a small business owner

How to Network as a Small Business Owner
by Mike Kappel, AllBusiness.com
August 2, 2017

For many small business owners, networking can be enjoyable. But, building your business network is not all fun and games. Approach your networking with a strategy that will help you reach your goals. When creating a plan, figure out why you want to network. Are you trying to gain new contacts? Maybe you want to work on career development and learn from business advisers in your industry. You could network to become a thought leader and position yourself as an expert. Or, you might try to be a better leader and motivate your team.

Whatever the reason for networking, set goals to aim for and estimate the number of contacts you will need. Then, identify the kinds of people you need to meet. Review your networking efforts to see what strategies worked best.
Getting involved in the community
Small business owners have the advantage of creating connections within their neighborhoods. A strong network of businesses within a community creates a healthy local economy, and becoming a part of your community will help your business and others succeed.

Be an active player in your local business scene. Volunteer and attend local events that give back to the community. Support other small businesses by shopping locally and becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce. You can even partner up with another company to mutually benefit. Attend conferences, host a networking event, and participate in trade shows. Make an effort to meet new people and don’t hide in the corner.
In today's market, have an online presence so people can find you
No matter the size of your business, it’s crucial to have a presence on the internet. Use online channels to network with potential and existing customers, as well as other business owners. Social media websites let you participate in ongoing conversations with people in your network. Engage customers through social media by sharing interesting information and details about your business. Users can contact you via social media, ask you questions, and share reviews.

Join online communities and forum conversations that are relevant to your business. Don’t post to sell your products or services. Instead, ask questions to learn from other business owners, and offer advice when you can.

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