So, you have your business idea, your skills, your product or service, but where do you go from there?
If you are a techie like me, your natural propensity is to head over to Linkedin.com and start building a network of business people who you can convert to partners or potential customers. There is also a ton of business forums out there you can subscribe to and start publishing threads which your target audience might respond too.
These are of course valid ways of networking and I personally have had success of generating leads, developing partnerships and converting sales this way.
It might be my age perhaps, but what I’ve found is that online networking can be an extremely lonely endeavour and that relationships online are not the same quality as those developed offline face to face.
It is quite difficult to substantiate that claim but if you have ever worked among hundreds of other people with similar interests to yourself, you would know what I mean. There is something quite amazing that happens when you are physically present with people similar to yourself.
Someone starts talking about one aspect of business you hadn’t thought about. Someone else shares an idea they had in the shower this morning. Someone tells you about a problem someone else had and you realise that you can solve it, turning it into a business opportunity you can make money from. You go for a beer with a group and suddenly you are all taking about getting involved in an Internet Startup.
I personally developed my career over 30 years this way.
So, I’m writing this post sitting at a “”virtual desk” at the Channel Chamber of Commerce in Folkestone. I hear business people talking, I see people moving around the office and decisions being made. It is a hive of activity and a great place to network and get introduced to other business people who will help give you feedback on your product and price, ultimately leading to improving the quality of your sales proposition and leading to identifying customers and sales.
Don’t get me wrong, I would always advise to use both online and offline methods for business networking.
If you would like to consider networking with other business people in your area, contact your friendly Chamber of Commerce representative wherever you may live. Simply google “chamber of commerce”.
If you live in or around Folkestone, then contact Peter Hobbs (CEO) at the following website http://www.channelchamber.co.uk/
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some advice before contacting them.