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How can Business Networking improve your business?

Many entrepreneurs and salesmen know that networking with other people is an important factor in creating a successful business. However, I fear that many people overlook this simple and effective way for growing your business, increasing your income and meeting great people. I attribute much of Web Ascender’s success to the "soft skills" of building relationships and working towards lasting friendships with everyone we meet. 

When we started Web Ascender, I came to the realization that I would have to start giving a lot of sales pitches! It was naïve of me, but I am software programmer at heart and I hadn’t yet come to grips with the fact that now I had to go out there and be the "salesman".  My problem was that I desperately needed some help getting started in this new role. Ahhhh, what the library can do for you. I starting reading a lot of books (business and non-fiction only) and it became clear to me that I really had two choices: I could "cold call" all day everyday or I could increase the amount of people I know and they could help me get the word out. Increasing my business network of contacts seemed like the right way to go, the more people who know about our services and reputation the better!  But where should I start?

The first thing that popped into my head was the Lansing Chamber of Commerce. After a minute or two with Google I had found their website and the time of their next member mixer. Was it difficult for me to get the energy and courage to run around in a room with 100 people I don’t know? Yes. But I got over it. 

It cost me $20 and a business card to get into the event and access to over 100 other people actively involved in the business community.  This is where my reading and preparation time paid off. It’s better to have a few really good conversations rather than running around the room swapping business cards with lots of people but never making a good connection. I had about 5 really good conversations and met at least 20 people. Guess what? One of those conversations turned into an excellent lead for us. I followed up with them and after a couple of meetings it turned into one of our biggest sales that year! All from my first real networking experience – I was sold!

I have met a lot of people since that first mixer, but it is amazing how one good contact, one job well done, can turn into something so much more. For example, that one great contact I made at the mixer turned into: an excellent sale, a friendship, introductions to 10 more close friends of theirs, introductions and partnerships with other technology companies, and of course – more referrals and sales.

To be successful with networking you cannot be in it for the immediate sale; the people you are meeting are probably not your ideal customers. You must go to these events simply to meet good people. Surround yourself with good people and the sales and referrals will come.

Here are a few quick ideas for places to network with others in your community:

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Country Clubs
  • Health clubs / gyms
  • BNI – Business Networking International
  • Join an association or group that is relevant to your industry
  • Check out meetup.com and see if there is a group that matches your interests

 

I would start by checking with your local chamber of commerce, they will know everything that is happening in your town and how you can get involved.


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My Ventures

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  • Web Ascender

    Web Ascender

    Web/Mobile design & development.
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  • Post Kudos

    Post Kudos

    Mobile App for client testimonials and customer reviews.
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  • File Ascender

    File Ascender

    Easily upload and share files from anywhere.
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  • DNN Spot

    DNN Spot

    High quality, easy to use, accessible and search engine friendly modules.
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Executive Guide to Web Design

This book is designed for business executives who want to learn about critical factors that affect your businesses website and online marketing. After reading this guide you will be comfortable working with your web design firm, marketing department and steering the direction of your company's online success.
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What Internet Startups Need to Know

Are you interested in making the next big thing? Do you have a great idea, know your industry, and have a good way to get your product into the hands of others? This short e-book will go through the primary things to consider when evaluating and executing on your web or mobile application startup.
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I Speak!

I do presentations to small local groups as well as Fortune 500 companies.  I have been requested to speak about:

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