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Business Networking and Your Craft Business

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 15 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Business Networking Promote Promotion

When you’re running a craft business, marketing your skills, services or products should be top of your priorities. One way in which you can promote your business is to get involved with business networking events.

Business networking events can be beneficial for craft business owners in a number of ways. Firstly, they’re a good opportunity for you to get together and interact with other small, or large, business owners and share tips, advice and experience.

Secondly, many networks that meet regularly actively encourage the sharing of business leads, experience, skills and information. This can lead to the generation of work or sales, which can be very lucrative for your business.

Joining A Business Networking Group

Various types of business networking groups and events run regularly throughout the country, and most are usually open to accepting new members, or at least have a waiting list available for potential new members. The membership of these groups varies – some, for example, are open to women only, others for people running particular types of businesses – and in some cases you may need to be proposed for membership by an existing member.

Local business networking groups should be well advertised, but if you’re having problems finding their details, a quick search on the internet should reveal some possible options. A good starting point for new business owners who interact with a number of other local businesses is a local Chamber of Commerce.

As spare time is often limited for people running their own businesses, many groups host events at business-friendly times, such as first thing in the morning (breakfast networking) or in the evening.

The exact format of events will differ, but typical activities include the chance for a short plug and promotion of your business (especially when attending for the first time), and the opportunity to hand out business cards, have debates and discussion.

Prices and fees for joining vary between groups. Some can be quite expensive for a new small business owner to afford, so you’ll need to weigh up and consider how valuable the promotion for your business will be. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the networking groups that thrive on lead generation often require a lot of extra time and dedication.

Informal Business Networking Events

In addition to the more formal business networking groups, there are often slightly more informal, ad hoc events taking place. These sessions can also be a good way of promoting your business and can widen the promotion abilities, as you often get the chance of mixing with people that you wouldn’t normally know, especially with events that are held nationally.

Online Business Networking

Another form of business networking that is well worth exploring is online networking. Social networking has become massively popular and, as well as interacting on a social basis, it can be extremely useful for businesses to use.

There are dedicated business networking sites which you can join – some for free, others for a small fee – and interact with other businesses. One of the main benefits of online business networking is that it widens the scope of interaction and you can get in contact with people from all over the UK and internationally.

For specialist craft businesses, this may be a better way to interact with others running similar firms, enabling you to share tips and learn from other people’s experiences. Online networking sites are also really useful for business promotional purposes, as you can create a profile to link with your account and promote your craft business.

When you first join an online business networking site, give careful thought to how you write your profile. If you don’t get it right first time, it should be easy to edit it. Think about what keywords people may be searching for and add any that are relevant to your business into your profile. In theory, this could help them to find you and give added promotion to your business.

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