Networking 1Written by Chuck and Sue DeFiore
As a new business owner you must wear many hats.
You will need knowledge of accounting, marketing, advertising, management, administration, inventory, sales, etc., in addition to knowledge pertaining to your industry. Since you may be very proficient in some of these areas, but not in others, reading and learning about these other areas is imperative. Of course, question is, when do I find time. This is where networking comes in. Your network of contacts is your support group for areas in which you need help. Determine what areas you need help in and locate a networking group, support group or make a list of contacts you need and make them yourself. There are also Home Business Clubs in many areas. The SBA is another source, but be careful, we've heard too many complaints about mentors in SBA program. However, you might find them adequate for your needs. Look at local groups and ask before you join if areas you need help in are represented. You can then call these individuals before a sales presentation, run client presentation by them, and see what they think. They should be able to help you over rough spots. Be sure to reciprocate when one of these individuals calls you about your area of expertise. Networking is not a one-way street.
Reminders For Running A Better BusinessWritten by Chuck and Sue DeFiore
The following tips are from an article we contributed to Compute magazine. These are ideas that we all should know, but many times forget. It constantly amazes us how quickly a basic tenent of business can be shoved by wayside in heat of daily transactions.
If we all try to keep these simple principles in mind, they may keep us on straight and narrow in our pursuit of home office bliss.
1. Buy an answering machine. This will allow you to give your attention to a client and not telephone. Be sure your message is done in a professional manner and includes business name, telephone number and hours of operation.
2. Be sure to have a separate telephone line for business. This will avoid your family using same line and busy signals to prospects and clients. Keep your personal calls separate and insure your business line is always answered in a professional manner.
3. Read, read and read some more. You will constantly be learning about your business. Reading will allow for additional knowledge, change and growth.
4. Buy a fax machine. This will allow you to give your clients prompt responses and in many cases save on postage and telephone costs. It will also avoid having to leave your office to go and fax something at $1.25 or more per page.
5. Have an identity package professionally done. Your logo, letterhead, business card, envelope and brochure will be first impression a prospect or client has of you. To insure impression is a good one, have your business package done by a professional designer. The cost is worth it.