Small Business Networking
The last couple of days the weather has been beautiful, almost near perfect for this time of the year and some of us are suffering from fear of winter coming while others are simply struggling with their small businesses. This time of the year reminds me that winter is coming and things are about to slow down – in networking world. I would like to take just a moment and discuss this trend and what I believe may be the cause of it.
Let’s begin in the fall. At this time of the year we are working feverishly trying to procure new business because we realize that around the holidays things will slow down. As December draws near, some of us become preoccupied with things like parties and shopping and our attention furthest from building our small business. Others find it increasingly difficult to make contact as people begin long vacations.
Then the Christmas holidays pass. We put our marketing and networking efforts into high gear at the start of the new year, going to several meetings a week, trying to get things cranked up again. The result is increased business and increased profits. Have you ever noticed that in the early part of February that things begin to pick up almost at a maddening pace? When this occurs, unless we are prepared for growth, we start to back off on our promotions as we scramble to complete the work that has been generated by our networking and marketing efforts.
In effect, we stop networking. We lose contact with those we have been meeting and asking for referrals, and they begin to feel as if we are not interested in them any longer. When this happens, they may look for someone else to refer when that target prospect comes along.
By early to mid summer, we are starting to crawl out from under the workload and we again look for opportunities. Unfortunately, the holiday season starts all over again as children break up from school for the summer holidays, so our networking comes to a holt. Thus it is very difficult once again to find the contacts that were out there just before our business picked up again early this year.
By mid August, the children are back at school and people are coming back out into the networking world again. Of course we are seeing some of the same people that were there before, but there are also a lot of new faces as well in the networking world. Because we had slacked off from our promotion efforts, we were not there to greet the new faces as they started their new business. So the people who have a balanced networking and marketing strategy are there to greet them.
These are the people who have businesses that seem to be growing. They have a marketing and networking plan that is consistent all the year round. When many businesses are experiencing that new small business rush in the spring, these small business owners are ready to absorb the new business with new employees or temporary help. They realize that to maintain growth means to be ready for any upsurge in the economy that could help propel their business to the next level.
Small Business Networking System
So how do we accomplish this? First plan for growth. Have a system ready for when you have more business than you can handle so that there is help you can call call on or depend on. This is managed by building relationships with temp agencies, headhunters, and placement firms. Hire people on a contractor basis if necessary. This saves money on benefits and salaries when thing are a bit slower. It also reduces the amount of paperwork when it comes to payroll processing and taxes.
Next, develop a system for networking that is manageable. Set a goal for the amount of meetings that you would attend when business is just Good and stick to it when business gets better. Attend functions year round, even during the holiday seasons.
"The ants think winter all summer. That's an important perspective. You can't be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants are gathering in their winter food in the middle of summer".
Plan vacations when necessary, but don’t assume that everyone is going on vacation simply because it is summer. Most people have to accommodate the schedules of others and entire companies usually do not go on vacation at the same time. Notice that larger corporations always have staff on hand to do business while an employee is on vacation. Also take note that large corporations do not stop promoting just because it is the month of July or December. They are consistent year round. Learn a lesson from the ants.
The lesson here is that, if you want to grow from being a small business into a large company, take a look at what large companies do. Emulate them if they are successful and you may be able to duplicate their success. You must be constantly marketing, networking and promoting to ensure consistent business year round. If you decide to slack off now because business is good, I guarantee that when autumn comes you will be working twice as hard to get things going again. If, on the other hand, you keep on consistently marketing the way you did when times were slow, you should be able to experience the growth of both your company and your bank account during the entire year. Networking will show results only if you keep at it.
Latest posts by Moe Nawaz (see all)
- Grow Your Business During The Recession - September 5, 2012
- Is Your Business Thriving – Surviving or Perishing? - August 30, 2012
- Six Best Reasons Why You Need a Business Coach - May 28, 2012
Filed under: Marketing
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!