Those with children should make arrangements to attend an event when you can, but get your face out and name there. The right networking event can bring in a large amount of business for you. An event every two months or so should suffice, then stay in touch with the person that grabbed your interest. It does not matter if it is by telephone, with just a quick hello, or a friendly FYI e-mail. If you have asked what their interests are this should not be difficult.
However, before you do anything, take a close look at your home business resume and see what is really there. If webmaster is listed on your resume and business card, you don't always have to think in terms of building a four or five page web site for a client. When talking to a business owner who already has a business web site up and running, mention that you can build them a virtual business biography or resume. What is virtual business biography? I admit that I made up this term, but what it means is that you take the business owners biz resume and make it available with clickable links, on the Internet, sort of like a forever press release. Most business people will welcome a second direct line to let people know who they are and what they do. If you can think outside of the "webmaster" box, you may be able to make money building resumes or VBB's online.
If you sell Tupperware or a similar product, go to your next networking event with an open mind. Think of other ways your product can be used. I have a Tupperware cereal container that I have used for change for many years. It is sturdy and easy to open when I need a couple of quarters.
One of the most important and valuable business tool is a proper business card. Your card should be available at all times, and most definitely when networking.
You cards should be:
- clean and unmarked
- in a holder or clean pocket
- up-to-date with newest information; no hand-written changes
- suitable for your line of business
- available, you should not have to search for your card.
Handy items for your purse or pocket:
- A few 3 x 5 index cards to write information, because networking events are more than passing out business cards.
- If you are talented and make your own biz cards, bring a few (10?) blank cards for those who do not have cards. Give them a blank card to write on, you are less likely to loose or misplace it.
- Does your company you have catalogs? If yes, bring some and to give them to people who seem interested in your product. Catalogs are much more effective than business cards. Catalogs can be expensive, but if you feel this is an important event, go ahead and invest money in the catalogs. The return may be two-fold, a new customer or a new recruit, either way, both are buying customers.
Things to do the next week:
- Send a personal note to each person you are interested in networking with. Give an approximate date of next contact or ask for meeting. Follow-up.
- Don't forget to send out a note to those you have no interest in networking with, just let the person know that it was nice meeting them. There is a better chance that you will be remembered if you do so. Who knows they may send you your next customer/client or recruit.