Networking is the most important tool used by any small business looking to grow. It is the “linking” together of individuals/community who through trust and building relationships promote each other. Networking in today’s competitive market can open new doors of opportunity through new connections and can educate us as we absorb knowledge from more experienced entrepreneurs we meet. It is more important than ever to know the "dos and don’ts" of networking effectively and to properly put them into action.
What makes you different from your competition is your “differentiator.” This is a characteristic that separates you from your competition and gives your market/target audience a perceived advantage. To do so, it should meet three important
- It must be something that is true.
- It must meet a need and be important to your potential market
- Your business must be able to demonstrate that it can do it.
As a small or large business the most important question is “What would I like to know about my customer?” Knowing your customers well is essential to long-term success. It puts any business in a great position to get attention. Understanding your customer demographics allows your business to establish relationships, creating an environment of trust which translates into sales. Outsourcing a business consultant is a great solution for businesses to help create value for your small business.
For any business follow-through is the key to building trust and is what gets things done. Follow-through is based on action and involves meeting deadlines and honoring guarantees. According to famous entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn:
“One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”
Many entrepreneurs struggle with how to best use social media as a means to engage their audience and promote their business. According to statistics, 46 percent of online users count on social media when making purchase decisions. Social media advertising is forecast to grow to $11 billion in 2017. Savvy entrepreneurs are aware that it’s all about engaging the right audience through offering valuable content, seven out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site (comScore Networks/TMP Directional Marketing).