Networking can be one of the most challenging aspects of running a small business. As an owner, you know all about the hassles of getting out and meeting new people, including connecting with potential clients. However, it is possible to pull this off in a cost-effective, headache-free manner.
In some industries, the problems with networking can get even more complicated, thanks in part to a high number of conferences and other meetings. If these events sound like things you don't want to attend, there is no need to worry.
In fact, here are three cost-effective ways you can reach out to new clients without spending a lot of time or money:
1. Take advantage of the Internet
Your small business' financial plan may not have the room to handle airfare, hotels and other expenses related to conferences. With that in mind, you may want to look for other ways to connect with people. According to Entrepreneur magazine, one great way to do that is by using the Internet. For example, research speakers online. There is a good chance they have videos posted that you can watch. In many cases, these are more detailed than what you'll get elsewhere, plus you can then reach out for more information.
2. Meet in a more intimate setting
Conferences can be tough because of the sheer number of people. Instead of sitting through one of these, try to meet people in a more intimate setting. Entrepreneur magazine explained that you should reach out to people and share a cup of coffee or lunch. These contacts can provide a lot of advice for your small business, or even turn into clients. Either way, a one-on-one meeting is more effective than a large industry event.
3. Check out the local newspaper
There is one resource that many people have forgotten about: the newspaper. According to Business Know-How, the daily news can shed a lot of light on potential clients and partners. For instance, watch out for certain articles – such as promotions, award announcements, new businesses and much more. This information is a great indication of who you should be talking to. Once you find a potential contact, reach out and ask to talk. You never know who could turn into that next great client.