Three. It’s a prime number. Three’s a crowd. Numbers in threes are easy to remember, that’s why your area code is three digits and so is your phone prefix. Three messages is all you want to deliver at any given time-better to be remembered. You go to a networking event with six messages to deliver (such as with two businesses and three messages each) and you just confuse your listener.
Small business owners don’t have a lot of time. First you have to develop the product or service and deliver it to clients. Then there is the business of managing the business: you know, financial statements, bookkeeping, accounts receivable. Then the for prospective clients. Wouldn’t it be great if you could put 10% of your gross towards marketing and advertising. That’s a great rule of thumb. Most businesses have limited resources.
Public relations is a means of addressing that. One public relations strategy is community relations–getting the business in front of the community. Networking is a tactic under the community relations business. Suggestions for best networking sources:
- Know the target audience attending the networking event. If you are attending every networking event in town, you are probably going to too many. Is your client demographic going to these events? You need to be where your client is, not where all your competitors are.
- Attend networking events that provide more value than just client prospects. If there is a professional group with excellent referral expectations or strong programming for professional development for you business, then by all means, go. But know what you are trying to get out of the group.
- Space your attendance. Community outreach can be as simple as showing up. However, that doesn’t mean you need to show up to all of the groups every week or every month. Be judicious about your schedule and only attend the meetings that are valuable to you.
These few tips can save you a significant amount of your very limited time. Happy networking.