To keep your business operating, what additional businesses do you need to connect with?

  • printers
  • web hosts
  • graphic designers
  • electric
  • plumbing

Businesses need each other to build their own business. Mutually beneficial relationships help both businesses expand their success.   This is the basic premise behind attending Chamber of Commerce mixers, or other networking events.

True networking online

With sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook we can now meet and connect online.  Just showing up in these places is not enough.  Do you have a plan and a purpose for your time there?

LinkedIn is primarily business to business, or also seen as a business formal platform. While here,  the Q&A area is a great way to give value to others.  Find questions to answer.  Be more interested benefiting them than announcing yourself.  You will stand out.

Facebook started as strictly social fun,  and many still prefer to keep it that way.  Others see it as business networking exclusively and don’t build much personal interaction.  As Facebook is seen as business casual, we want a happy balance of both.  This  a great way to connect with others, beginn chatting, and move to a phone call.

Twitter is the constand cocktail party.  You can make up all your own rules as to how and why you show up here.  (See previous post:  Calvinball). Sites like Twellow and Wefollow are directories to find connections in specific places.  It is like the yellow pages for Twitter listings.

But I want to do business with someone I know or is referred to me

When you are searching for a new hair stylist or barber, you likely ask others “who do you go to”. The same principles can apply online.  In his program, “Endless Referrals“, Bob Burg shares principles on building your business using referrals.    By being more interested in them, you make them stand out.  To follow up, The Go-Giver, provides great insight into being more focused on giving value to others.  If your true intention is to promote others and make them look good, you are a great value connecting them to things that help further their business.

How does this work online?  The same principles still apply.  A few months ago I attended BarCampHarrisburg.  I learned about it through Twitter.  While there, I met a few great people in different aspects of web development than I offer.  I followed them on Twitter promptly.  We’ve since met at Tweetups, a networking event of other Twitter users. Now I find myself working with a client that may be in need of services that others I’ve met online and later in person can provide.  I want to refer business this way.  I asked them about their services, and have established a degree of relationship with these individuals.  I’ve asked them how I can refer business to them, and I’ve watched how they are representing themselves and clients online.

Also, I have asked others – what are you looking for? Projects, jobs, new clients, and referrals are things many people need.  By knowing what others seek,  I am more aware of how to refer others to them or refer them to potential clients or employers.