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Own a Business? Get Networking!

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-07-19 4:00 am --

Small business may be the heart of our economy, but anyone who owns one can tell you it's hard work. Many small business owners do everything themselves, from janitorial duties to operations to marketing and accounting. If you want your business to grow, but your budget doesn't compare to the big boys, what is a little company to do?

Have you tried networking? If you have never heard of this skill, there is no better time to learn than now.

Networking means getting to know lots of people, treating everyone with dignity and respect, and working together so you both benefit. It really is that simple. If you master this talent, you can build business exponentially.

How does it work?

First, be social. Attend business events, seminars, SBA training workshops--anything that offers you the chance to meet new people. It can even be a bowling night for you and your family so long as you also encounter new people.

Some are intimidated by the idea of having to actively seek out new acquaintances, but there is a simple solution in these numbers. Remember the code: 3-2-3. Meet three new people, learn two things about them, follow up three days later. There is no need to hunt for a new best friend; simply shake hands, exchange a few facts about yourselves, and then send an email or note later to say you enjoyed meeting that person.

Why meet all these people? Because you now have a network of contacts who do all kinds of things, know all types of information, and who can help you when you need it. Further, you are advertising your own business free of charge!

Now that you are expanding your network, you are getting to the heart of commerce. Most businesses keep tight budgets, and they can't always write a check for what they need. This is the time to pull out your address book and see who can trade services or the occasional favor. You both get something you need, and you both keep your cash flow under control.

Last, seek first to give, and second to receive. People know the difference between working together and being used. Always offer help first before asking for it back.

Once you start, you will learn that networking is simple, fun and profitable. You might even end up with a few great friends.