CHAPTER 5 - NETWORKING
NETWORKING WITH PROFESSIONAL OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY
Aside from a network of colleagues, it’s important to build and maintain a network of people from other industries. These connections can directly or indirectly contribute to your client base. When someone you know talks about you to their friends or colleagues, word of your services will spread; word-of-mouth is a cost-effective marketing strategy. In addition, other professionals may partner with you to provide a service which you offer to clients but in which you are not an expert yourself, such as layout design. You may also run into other useful contacts, such as a good masseuse to maintain your physical well-being, an IT specialist to help you with computer-related issues, or an accountant to help you with your finances.
Always be prepared to network – you can cross paths with a prospective client almost anywhere, such as during recreational activities, in a parent-teacher conference, or on a train or a bus. Always have a few business cards on hand just in case, and don’t be afraid to talk about what you do for a living at opportune times. Come up with a so-called elevator pitch: a brief, positive and pithy introduction of your business and services. It’s good to prepare a few different versions of your pitch – a more casual and a formal approach, for example – for different situations and crowds.
Entrepreneurs’ associations and chambers of commerce guarantee a place where you can get to know entrepreneurs from other industries and discuss issues concerning entrepreneurship on both local and national levels. Trade fairs and events for different professions are also worth attending for networking purposes.