Networking for Business Success
For a Business Mum working from home, other than at playgroup or nursery there is little opportunity to meet other people let alone business people and potential business contacts.
Mixing with other business owners is considered by many to be an essential practice for any aspiring business man or woman. To begin with it can be daunting but it is a business tool and can bring far more to your business than just generating new sales.
Online is the ideal place to start. Many mums say that when they became a mum, they felt they’d joined a club, where they sought advice and in return wanted to help other mums, especially through those tiresome and stressful first few weeks, and months! And it doesn’t stop there. The circle of friends you build in those early days whether in online parenting forums or through your local clinic can be re-created within an online business environment.
Working from home can make you feel isolated, the kids are asleep and you may have had a bad day. The chances are you’re not the only one having that same day. You’re not alone!
MumsClub is your online meeting place to receive as well as give the essential support from other Mums who have all been there and undoubtedly will be back there soon! It’s a great place to unwind and chat to others in the same boat. You can use the home life forums to simply chill out!
We can provide you with all the hardware: the live website forum, your own website, all the relevant information and business tools and don’t forget; you’ll find products and services that you need both for yourself and your business from within your mumsclub network:
Networking on MumsClub can help you to:
- Socialise with other like-minded business mums to reduce the feeling of isolation that so often comes with working from home;
- Generate new sales from other members and benefit from their recommendations;
- Exchange marketing ideas with mums with similar businesses;
- Expand your own network of contacts through word of mouth referrals from other members;
- Receive direct feedback from your market – the people who buy your product;
- Ask for advice from people with experience of your problems;
- Offer advice to people with problems that you have experience of;
- Find potential new business partners; think about how your product could mix with others. Could you collaborate with another member?
- Start or contribute to a brainstorm session which can help you tremendously but it also helps to get you and your business better known; you don’t always need to be asking or advising all the time, who knows what ideas others will have for you?
Keep in mind:
- Sales will come from other mumsclub members, so your customer services will influence any repeat business. But more importantly you want their recommendations – you want them to refer you to their network of friends & family to you.
- You need to develop relationships with the other members who like you, trust you therefore will be happy to refer you.
- You also need to be alert to the times when you can refer other members to your network of friends & family. Every referral you make goes to strengthening your mumsclub relationship further.
- It’s all about building relationships, spammers are easily recognised and are often ignored, whilst regular contributors become popular very quickly and will attract responses to their posts...Always Remember your reputation.
- The best way to build a relationship is to be there for others. Listen to their problems and questions and use your experience and opinions to help them out.
It is down to the individual members to make the network reach its potential. Therefore its success is ultimately down to you.
Create awareness & stand out from the crowd
Think about the message you’re sending out, how do you want others to see you? And perhaps more importantly, in reality, how do they see you?
- Your product needs to stand out in its marketplace and whether it’s online or face-to-face you too need to stand out from the crowd. It can be difficult but you need to make both you and your company recognisable.
- Find your unique selling point (‘USP’). What makes what you do different from what else is available? Why should people buy from you rather than the next person?
- Submit news items, the articles provided that show a newsworthy item will be published in our news pages and you’ll have a link from our home page to your mini-site. This creates interest from other members…creating more awareness to you and your business!
- Put everything you do in a nutshell so that people can remember it. The Americans call it your "elevator pitch" – a 30 second summary of what you do. Get this right and practise it, this will be invaluable when meeting new people. You’ll find this useful at the next MumsClub networking event!
- Showing that you know what you’re on about and that you’re confident will give others confidence in you. When running your own business, with all the ideas in your head it’s so easy to lose focus. Knowing your pitch in a nutshell will help to keep you focused on the job ahead!
- Join networking clubs and meetings wherever you can. You should spread the word of what you do. We will always help in the creation of your own local mumsclub meeting.
- Although your mumsclub mini site will contain your keywords t help on the search engines, all internet forums, Blogs, and Public clubs are indexed by the search engines and will all help to raise your web presence.
- And not forgetting that the more visitors on mumsclub.co.uk means more people seeing your business so wherever possible, make sure you spread the word!
Build Your Reputation
People with a clear talent or knowledge will instantly catch people's attention. Use your knowledge and expertise to stand out as an expert! You will then draw people to you.
The key to successful networking is in helping others. This builds both your relationships and your reputation, which in turn will attract people, opportunities and business to you.
- Help people where you can – show that you’re a giver not a taker;
- Think about others, not just what’s in it for you;
- Actively support and promote other members – it will be noticed that you are an active promoter, which will draw people to you, encouraging others to refer you in return.
- People need to have confidence in you before they can refer you to their own network of friends & family, so make sure the message you are sending out is one of credibility.
- Conduct yourself sensibly and professional. Being too forward may drive people away from you so strike a balance between fun, friendly yet professional at all times.
Develop your relationships
It’s natural that we connect with some people more than others; life would be boring if this weren’t the case. Therefore it’s important that you seek out your like-minded people. By providing a forum, MumsClub has gone a long way to do that for you, but you still need to burrow down to find other mums to really connect with and don’t forget that beyond mumsclub there’s a whole world of potential contacts out there… and these same rules apply.
So, even before launching yourself onto the forums:
- Familiarise yourself with our members mini-sites to get a feel what they do as well as what other products & services are available,
- Read other members profiles get to know the individuals,
- Browse the mums news pages for an insight into how the businesses operate, as well as what they sell,
- And don’t forget to go to face-to-face events to meet new people. It doesn’t have to be business events either, knowing your pitch in a nutshell is applicable to whoever you meet – a business contact or another mum at the school gates.
Take the time to really get to know people – just giving your business card to a hundred people rarely works. You need to listen and get to know them. Focus on the individual; who they are, what they do and what they are trying to achieve.
The beauty of a forum like mumsclub is that everyone wants to help one another! It takes time to settle in to the forums, time to develop relationships, time to get referrals and time to get work so plan to build your network over a time. Try to learn something new from everyone you meet and enjoy it!
For further help and advice please feel free to talk to our members at www.mumsclub.co.uk/forums
Wishing you every business success!