There is so much that goes into being a good business owner and running a successful company. You need to find a healthy customer base, be creative and intuitive, and build plenty of business relationships. For most people, the best way to build those relationships is going to be to network with the other businesses in your community and industry. If you're throwing your hat in with all of the other real estate brokers say, that might mean getting to know other agents, contractors, and home stagers. If you're running a shop you will need quality suppliers, marketing partners and customers. Here are some tips for strengthening your business relationships.
For many people the top reason to network is to build relationships that can turn into a bigger profit. That might mean finding people who can offer you the best prices on the supplies that you need to run your business or it could mean just having other trusted business owners that can recommend your establishment to others. For example, if a storeowner is working with a real estate agent that they highly respect they are likely to recommend that agent when their friends and neighbors are looking for a home or business property in the area.
Another great reason to build your business contacts is so that you know where to go when there's a problem. If you've ever searched through the yellow pages for someone to help you with your taxes or who to call for hydrovac excavation services (like Transway Systems Inc.) - then you know that it's a gamble whether or not the person on the end of the line is going be helpful or knowledgeable in the end. When you're dealing with problems with your business you usually don't have time or money for these sorts of mistakes. If your computer crashes or you're in need of someone to paint your home (see our recommendation) you should know someone perfect for the job. And if you don't know someone, you'll likely know where to go for advice.
Finding mentors and those that can advise you is also extremely important if you are starting a new business. While you may know all about choosing domain names or have taken a slew of business courses that does not mean that you will have all of the answers when the customers start coming through the door. Everyone has hiccups in their first couple of years of operation and it's how you deal with these issues that will determine whether or not your business survives.
If you're looking for networking opportunities in your area than you should get in touch with the Chamber of Commerce and any organization set up by the city to help small business owners.