The expression “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” has powerful implications in marketing and business development. Having experience and credentials are crucial. They are the first step in securing business, regardless of the field. Equally important, however, is gaining access to people, information, and opportunities. Networking provides this access. It involves building and nurturing personal and professional relationships to create a system or chain of information, contacts, and support.
Many people avoid networking activities for a variety of reasons: lack of self-confidence, fear of rejection, unclear marketing message, disdain for social triviality, concerns about inauthentic relationships, and unease about sharing leads. Unfortunately, these concerns prevent them from benefiting from one of the best business development tools available. In today's market, given the economic challenges, networking is especially powerful since people are more cautious about making purchasing decisions and are more apt to use referrals when making purchases.
One of the best ways to overcome the fear of networking is to approach it from a different angle. Consider the following counter intuitive wisdom. In networking, it's better to give than to receive. Network with an intention to connect people and to be a resource for the success of others; to give leads rather than just to get leads. Networking with an intention to serve your contacts could significantly reduce your anxiety and improve your value in the community. When networking, ask others what they do and who you can refer to them. This is a great first step in building a two-way networking relationship. As you sow, so shall you reap.
Your focus on giving will yield both respect and leads since when you give you will create sense of reciprocity in your networking partner.
You can build your network informally with friends and associates or by attending formal meetings. Although the informal method is important, attending formal meetings is typically a better way to develop your network. It puts you in front of new people who have contacts beyond your existing network.
Now is not the time to sit back and to wait for business to come to you. There is often times great opportunity in difficult times. For many the challenges that we face force us to be and act differently. Putting yourself out there in front of people who would refer you to others is one of the best ways to be proactive about building your business.
Marketing is the lifeblood of every business and it’s critical that a growing small business invests time, energy and financial resources towards building their business. It’s also important to remember that nothing stays the same - Everything by the nature of its existence is either growing or shrinking - and your business is not an exception. If you are depending on hope or good luck to build your business, than you may be missing some important elements. Creating good luck is based on taking action, and when it comes to marketing and promoting your business, there are very specific actions that can be applied to create growth, even with limited time and a limited budget. If you look at the process of marketing your business from the perspective of both an art and science, it can be helpful in deciding how to get started.
From the artistic point of view, it’s important that you are incorporating your creative abilities and personality into your marketing process. This will make it easier and more natural for you to do ‘the work’ of marketing when you are going with the grain versus against it. For example, if you are expressive and articulate, you might consider filming some video-based promotions such as teaching and/or speaking and adding those videos to your website and promoting them on the search engines. Or, if you have skills in writing, you might consider writing a monthly newsletter and sending it out to your clients and prospective clients and submitting these articles to Article Directory Websites.
Most small business owners struggle with the scientific or technical aspects of marketing. This is unfortunate because building a small business is in many ways a scientific experiment and if you were to approach it scientifically it would make it much easier to succeed. Scientists always start by collecting data and tracking statistics. here are some very important questions that you can ask yourself to collect data:
- How many new clients do you need (ideally) each month to grow your business?
- What is your attrition rate or how many clients you lose on a monthly basis?
- How many leads/calls/inquiries do you receive on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
- What is the conversion ratio of leads to new clients (# of leads/ # of sales)?
- How many new clients do you actually acquire on a monthly basis?
- Is the number of the new clients acquired less than the number of new clients needed?
- What marketing techniques are you using to generate new leads?
These questions typically provide you with specific reasons as to how your business is doing in terms of growth and why you may or may not be growing. Most small businesses fall short in regards to attaining the number of new clients that they need and this is usually the cause of significant stress. Most small business owners are either not incorporating any type of marketing process or are implementing too few marketing techniques. It is recommended to implement at least three active marketing techniques. Below is a list of several different marketing techniques to consider:
- Search Engine Marketing
- Corporate Marketing
- Press Releases
- Article Marketing
- Student Referrals
- Print Advertising
- Affiliate Marketing
- Media Advertising
- Signage/Walk ins
- Directory Listings
- Yellow Pages
- Email Marketing
- Video Marketing
Many of the effective and most cost efficient marketing strategies being used today are web based marketing techniques. If you are looking to develop a professional web presence and succeed on the web, WebFlexor Websites specializes in affordable and quality websites for small businesses and start-ups.
Our meeting started off today with some hand shaking, high-fives, and introduced the 'forearm-bash' to the group. In the forearm-bash-mash were several guests from sought-after categories: Dave, a caterer who catered another LeTip group's event; Sam, a carpet cleaner & restoration specialist that helped Rich clean as well as remove several wrinkles in his carpets, and Claudia, a friend of Patty's who has helped out many people who were having trouble paying their mortgages with her loan modification services. Thanks to all our guests for attending and we hope you were all able to make some valuable connections.
Anne Pettay (Guardian Life Insurance) had a great showboat table. One of the items on her table featured a tool she uses, the 'Living Balance Sheet'. This website helps to take stock of your complete finance picture so you can make better decisions and achieve your financial goals.
Our first speaker today was Barbara (Longevity Minerals). Barbara talked about Dr. Wallach, and how he's seen the detrimental effects when a body is missing even just 1 of the essential minerals it needs for proper health. She also recommends and donated to the raffle, Dr. Wallach's book "Dead Doctors Don't Lie".
Next, Shane (SEO San Diego) spoke about his search engine optimization (SEO) services. He showed us 2 amazing examples of his clients, a pool supply store, and a gift basket maker, who where able to bring thousands of clients to their door simply by being first when you searched for "pool supplies" or "gift baskets". As important as location, location, location is for a store front, location, location, location is also important for your online success. Remember, the first step is getting people to see you.
We missed a bunch of our members today , Dr. Bakur, Debbie, Chris, Matin, Kathy & Mikel. We look forward to seeing you next week and hope you are doing well
Mike Diebler, our personal trainer, got his name badge and blue velvet business card holder today.
Be sure to come in next week as we'll be hearing from Anne, our Life Insurance Expert, and Paul, our Florist (who never expected to be one back in high school football). If you are scheduled to speak, please make sure to get in touch with Llewellyn. Llewellyn, who speaks for a living, is offering to help every speaker out with their presentation.
Finally, the reason we are all here: the money ! This week we passed 28 tips and had 3 escrow tips that are waiting for our guest to become members.
Thanks for an other great week networking in San Diego,
Llewellyn & Rich
p.s. Just a few reminders : Next Monday is our BOD, 9am at Llewellyn's (1121 Chalcedony st, 92109). Also there is a Network Training Seminar March 30th, contact Ana Vega to RSVP.
Today's LeTip meeting started off with Mikel leading us in some yoga stretches. As he had us interlace our hands behind our back, the collective groans reminded us how we're not quite as limber as we used to be. But on the up side, he got our blood flowing and our meeting going.
The other aspect that always energizes our group is our guests. Today, we were introduced to Michael, an electrician and Jerry, a printer. Both positions are much needed in our group, and we hope that they were able to make some good connections at their first meeting.
Today, we also ran elections, and everybody was unanimously voted in!
We want to make a special mention of our new Real Estate Agent, Seth, who has not only just received his white badge, but already had received his second badge (green) for doing an outstanding job of growing our group. Thanks Seth!
Due to the growth of our group, we will be featuring two speakers at each meeting, to make sure everybody gets a chance to talk to the group at least twice a year.
Today, our first speaker was our Banker, Sue Crowder (www.uboc.com,) who showed us the how personal checks can leave us vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. A couple of things you can do to minimize your risk include: 1) Using your bank's online bill pay and 2) Using your credit card. As long as you pay off your balance each month, the protection afforded by credit cards is well worth it. Bonus tip: After receiving your statement, you only have 60 days to dispute any charges on it, so make sure you don't have any unopened statements lying around your house!
Next, Chris Wilson (www.endoxiart.com), our graphic artist, talked about the importance of a logo - how it should represent the core of your business and act as a compass or guide in the same manner as a business plan. Chris talked about how he interacts with his clients to discover their 'identity' and then distill it and finally put it on to paper.
We also had visitation, where members share what they learned from their partner. Our visitation program is one of the ways we build stronger relationships between the members, and it's always interesting to see each other through another member's eyes. If you haven't had a chance yet to meet up with your assigned visitation partner, please try to complete it soon - April's coming fast along with a new visitation partner!
While we missed more members today than we usually do, it was a nice to see a strong number of tips being passed around (31).
As usual, LeTip LeMonday will be at Llewellyn's on the 23rd at 9:00am. These meeting's aren't mandatory, but they're great ways to build up your relationships with the other members at the meeting on top of helping to grow our group into the best one in San Diego. For those of you that are going to be speaking soon, it's strongly recommended to come as Llewellyn (who does presentations for a living) is offering to help people with their 10 minute speeches. In other words, he's going to help you educate the group on how to bring you more business.
Lastly, March's Network Training Seminars are coming up: one on March 23 in Encinitas and one on March 30 near SDSU. New members are required to attend these seminars within the first 60 days for membership. These meetings teach you how to make the most of your membership and how to build your business using networking techniques. Contact Ana Vega to RSVP.
Have a great weekend everybody!
Rich & Llewellyn
What a magical, marvelous mixer! We really had a great time last night, hanging out our members, getting to meet a whole bunch of new people and to seeing some old familiar faces as well.
Jasmine hosted a marvelous party at her office. Due to the excellent cooks throughout our group, we had an amazing feast. Shane brought his signature (as of last night ) ribs, Debbie put out an impressive sushi display, and it seems like everybody managed to get at least one lumpia. Llewellyn, as a firm believer in testing, sampled everything and vouches that it all was good.
Our guest entertainer for the night was Star Alexander, the Motivational Magician, who went from group to group, amazing everybody. In Llewellyn's group, Star showed (or didn't show?) us how the eight of hearts has a habit of showing up at the top, bottom, middle and even sometimes behind Llewellyn's ear. Most of the time he amazed everybody with his close-up magic. Meanwhile, many of us had our fortunes told to us by Star's wife, Lady Star, and she informed me that our group will double before the summer solstice!
One story I'd like to share is about Chris's father. Chris' father works for Union Bank, just like Sue, and was supposed to fly back up to San Francisco for a meeting but postponed it to attend our mixer. Now you might ask yourself, "Is our mixer fun enough to postpone a flight to San Francisco?" And the answer is, 'YES!', yes it is. But that's not why he wanted to come. Chris's father wanted to come because he's so happy with the growth he's seen in his son since he joined our group. While that says quite a lot about Chris, I also think that says quite a lot about us.
The night closed with Star Alexander showing us some of his larger tricks, colorful coloring books, picking bubbles out of the air, rings out of envelopes, and thumb cuffing Llewellyn. A fun time was had by all.
We look forward to seeing everybody at our normally scheduled meeting next Thursday morning.
Thank you to everybody that came!
Rich & Llewellyn
Llewellyn and I would like to send out a virtual high-five on a great meeting this week! For those of you who missed it, we kicked off the meeting with a round of high-fives for everybody. The guests that were in the high-five mix included:
- Amanda – The Hair Colorist at Erin's Salon
- Julio – Mobile Auto mechanic
- Ruby – Concierge
And two returning guests that were voted in as new members!
- Matin Atrushi – Financial Planner (Western Financial Advisors)
- Mike Deibler – Personal Trainer (San Diego Premier Training)
Chris Wilson (Endoxiart), our graphic artist and lead singer for Endoxi, presented a fantastic showboat of some of his portfolio. Great Job Chris! Chris has done a lot of work not only on logos and flyers, but t-shirts, skate boards, and other various product design.
Karen Gibson (Mindful Skincare), our esthetician explained to us how the skin was made of different layers. Most peels target the outermost layer and rip it off. With Karen's treatments, she can target an underlying layer, enriching it and allowing it to come forth. See Karen for a peel, or take advantage of a series of peels to look younger longer. Overall, we found Karen's talk very ap-peel-ing.
Luck was in the air, once again with our weekly raffle, thanks to Paul, Mikel, Erin, Sue and Carol for providing this week's prizes. Thanks also to everybody that participated and congratulations to the winners.
We'd like to remind everybody that this week's Monday meeting will be at Patty's in Poway and we will not be meeting at Riverwalk this Thursday morning. Instead, we will be meeting Thursday night at Jasmine's office for our March Marvelous Mystical Magical Mixer. Please RSVP on eVite!
It was great seeing a lot of business flowing through the group with 30 tips for this week.
We look forward to seeing everybody Thursday night!
Rich & Llewellyn