As a home business entrepreneur you may not even realize that you still need to network to ensure that your business grows. You may also feel overwhelmed with the idea of face to face networking when you have a home business. But you need not worry – networking doesn’t have to be painful, and even an introvert can do it successfully. Just follow these tips.
1. Set a Goal for Networking
- Without a goal, you’re simply dreaming and moving haphazardly toward a moving target. And, we know how that works. It doesn’t. You need goals for networking in general and specific goals for each type of networking you do, both online and offline. Set a criteria for how many people you wish to engage in conversation and connect with for each event.
2. Practice Your “Elevator Speech”
- When people ask you what do you do, what will you say? You don’t want it to sound unnatural and like a sales pitch, which is why the term elevator speech receives so many groans today. Instead, be authentic and talk about how you serve your audience. When you put the focus on the audience, you’ll find that it passes your lips with less resistance.
3. Use Social Media
- Develop excellent profiles and keep your social media activity up to date, planned, and targeted. You never know who you’ll meet online who can help you reach your business goals. Focus your posts and interactions with the intent of being a helpful resource to the people you meet.
- There are many meetup services available where you can meet all kinds of people and plan all sorts of events. Make the most of your endeavors by creating an outstanding profile and setting a goal for your participation. Who knows? You may have fun in the process.
5. Who You Know
- The best thing to do about networking is to start with people that you know. Ask them if they have colleagues and acquaintances that they can introduce you to. If you encourage people to recommend you to others, then you’ll meet more people who want what you’re offering.
6. Get Involved Online and Off
- Don’t just stick to one or the other; both online and offline networking will work to help you get to know people, build relationships, and make more sales. It doesn’t matter today if you have a home business; people are used to it now, so no need to recoil at the idea of telling people.
7. Your Local Chamber of Commerce
- Your local chambers of commerce is an excellent place to start building your business relationships. If you get involved, you can create a niche for yourself by offering to lead training seminars for home-based business owners, sponsor events, and do other volunteering activities. While networking shouldn’t be your first thought when you volunteer, ensuring that you choose a group to volunteer for that consists of your target audience is fine. If you’re going to volunteer anyway, its a win win solution.
8. Attend Industry Events
- Whatever your niche, there is an event that corresponds to it. Find the events that consist of your audience and attend at least one big one per year. If you can get on the speakers’ list or buy a sponsorship, that’s even better.
Networking is an important part of building a business, whether you have a home business or a bricks-and-mortar business. Start with something small and then build as you go. You won’t regret it. You can be very successful with networking as a home business owner. Today, most people don’t have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.
Record keeping is an essential function of business success. If you don’t keep accurate records you could end up wasting money in many ways – including paying too much taxes, or paying late fees due to forgetting to pay an invoice. Not only that, if you have client files that aren’t kept accurately, you may lose their information and work will become very inefficient.
Here’s what the professional accountants recommend.
1. Touch Paperwork Once
- If you have a good system set up, the moment you get the information (whether paper or computerized) you can process it and not think about it again. Plus, if you ever need that information again, it’ll be simple to find within seconds.
2. Automate When Possible
- The best systems today save a lot of time and effort through automation. A great example of automation is online bookkeeping software that’s connected with your bank account. It makes booking entries painless and automatic.
3. Hire a Professional
- While you may think you can do it all yourself, there are some things such as finances that are often better left to professionals. Even a professional organizer might have some great ideas of how to make everything work together easily.
4. Create a Process
- Anything in your business that can be turned into a systematic process is then able to be ramped up and improved upon. That’s why systems and processes are so important in business, and that includes record keeping.
5. Choose the Right Software
- There is no one-size-fits-all software. You have to know what you need in your business, what features you want the software to have, and whether you have the budget for what you want. Don’t choose the least expensive if it doesn’t offer everything you need and the ability to grow.
6. Keep Private Things Private
- Your record keeping system needs to consider the level of security you need, based on the type of records that you’re keeping. By law some things have to be secured in a special way in the cloud, and by lock and key when physical. Ensure that you know the rules and regulations for your types of files.
7. Always Back Up Everything
- No record keeping system is complete without a backup. This includes paper files. You must have a copy of everything in a safe place in case of a fire, computer crash or other unexpected disaster.
8. Start Now
- Don’t wait until you earn more money, or have more clients, or – well, for anything. Get started from day one with your system and process so that you can perfect it as you build your business.
The worst thing you can do when it comes to record keeping is to simply not tackle it. You can streamline record keeping, establish a system and make it become second nature from day one.
As a home business entrepreneur, you know that you need to network. You know networking will help you get to know people, build relationships, and even build your reputation as an expert if you know what you’re doing. To be successful with networking it is important to avoid these eight common mistakes.
1. Not Having a Goal
- You should create a goal for general networking but also for each networking channel, be it online or offline. Before any event, write down the goal you want to achieve. For example, you want to connect with at least three new people, so that you know when you leave if you’ve been successful or not.
2. Not Being You
- Many people think that because they have a home based business, they need to exaggerate and make themselves look bigger and better than they are. But the truth is, you simply need to be your authentic self because it is you that makes your business and offerings special.
3. Not Listening More Than You Talk
- Practice mindful listening. Repeat back to others what you heard, mirror their thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. They’ll actually remember you more when you show genuine interest.
4. Hanging Out with Competitors
- While you do want to get to know your competitors, you will make more sales by networking with the people who need what you offer. Commiserating with colleagues is useful, but it won’t increase your client base.
5. Not Pushing Your Boundaries
- Going to events can be intimidating, but it’s important to push your boundaries if you want to grow your business. You can start slow with online events, and then move gradually into offline events.
6. Acting like a Wallflower
- Don’t go to an event and stand in a corner all alone. Mingle and get to know people. A good method to help you accomplish this is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event. Handing out name tags, programs or helping out at registration requires you to speak to people directly.
7. Being the Last One Standing
- At any in-person event, you want to make your exit before the last minute. Being the last one at an event can be a sign of desperation. Instead, leave people wanting more.
8. Having No Energy
- When you speak to people, project your voice, smile and show some likable energy about you. You want people to feel good when you talk to them.
Common networking mistakes that home business owners make can be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and planning. You can be very successful with networking as a home business owner. Today, most people don’t have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.