As you start up your business, the people you meet can be a great source of expertise, feedback and potential sales. These people are known as your network – and it really does help throughout your business life to develop your network and stay well-connected.
Your network can help with providing feedback on your business plans. Having trusted business contacts who will review your planning assumptions and give honest feedback on how realistic your assumptions are, can be invaluable. Friends and family want you to succeed so they may not always make the best reviewers. Using your network can help you access a far wider range of opinions and expertise. Time invested at the start on research and seeking out feedback will help to strengthen your plans and the chances of your business becoming successful.
It also pays to think about how you will generate sales and income through your new business. Who in your network might benefit from the products or services you plan to offer? You already have these contacts so you can keep them updated on your plans, engage them in providing feedback and ask them if they would buy. Being able to make a direct approach to these early potential customers and make initial sales can help your business to get off to a good start. Even if the response is a ‘no’, you have the opportunity to get valuable feedback, identify anything you need to change, handle any objections and move them towards a ‘yes’. Often business ideas, services and products need a few tweaks and changes before they become what your customers really want!
Plus, a network is like a spider’s web – opportunities may not come from the people you know, but instead from the people they know. While many in your network may not be potential customers themselves, they may have some potential buyers in their own networks. It pays to keep in touch with your network about your plans, ask if they know anyone who may be interested in your products or services and gain some valuable introductions.
In this way, you can open doors, get access to potential customers and sales and start to build your business income and track record.
Want to know where to start with networking? Read more here.