What is key in any business success story is an adequate networking plan–a plan that can help launch your small business from the ground up.
Generally, it is hard for a new business to become noticed, and even harder to gain your first few clients without any success stories to back up your claims. Your formal marketing plan should therefore project the right networking mix. The right networking mix is about being proactive-in a sense that you leverage your business and personal connections to bring you regular supply of new customers. The whole idea about business networking involves relationship building-and it must be strategic and focused on networking for business growth.
Professional Network Services
With business networking, you step up to the challenge to find avenues of opportunity that you may have otherwise never discovered. You really do not want to start your business to fail due to the decisions that you the owner makes. In other words, for your enterprise to grow, you have to be prepared to work hard, make decisions, and spend money where it matters. For instance, you may consider using a few prominent networking organizations who have successfully created models of business networking activity. A few notable examples of professional network services include LinkedIn, Viadeo, XING, and WiseStep. Using these professional network services can, in fact, be most effective in terms of generating business opportunities than advertising or public relations efforts.
Online business networking can also be a cost effective method of launching your small business. Businesses are today increasingly using social networks as a means of growing their circle of contacts and promoting themselves and their business online. And with the global expansion of businesses, social networks make it easier to keep in touch with other business contacts around the world.
Small Business Awards
Further, face-to-face networking through referral business clubs also have the potential for higher quality business relationships. There are also a vast majority of awards given to businesses locally, countrywide, and globally. The different type of these awards, such as, but not limited to, small business awards, innovation awards, new business awards, local and entrepreneurial awards, are a great way to project your business accomplishments to a wide range of community of prospects. For instance, for more than 50 years, National Small Business Week has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contribution in their local communities and to the nation’s economy. The range of National Small Business Week award categories include:
· Small Business Person of the Year Award
· Small Business Exports of the Year Award
· Small Business Development Centre Excellence and Innovation Award
· Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award
· Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award
The US Chamber of Commerce also hosts the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards Program sponsored by Sam’s Club. The other National Small Business Awards you can win cash for, gain national recognition and valuable networking opportunities include:
· The SCORE Awards
· The American Business Awards
· Inc. 500/5000 Awards
· Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Women Awards
· Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
· The Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust
· The SVN Innovation Awards
Applying for some of these awards is crucial when it comes to recognition. Research is vital when trying to find awards you fit into. Researching far ahead of time and making a list is probably the best way to enter into as many awards as possible. Even though some awards have fees, enter any way, because the reward for your business would be huge. And when you get any awards, you get to put the award on your website and social sites as show of early accomplishments.