When you are your own boss, your work day may end at certain time, but your business is always a part of your life.  As direct sellers and/or small business owners, we should constantly be looking for opportunities that can increase business. These chances present themselves more often than you might think.  Here are some ways to take advantage of such openings that could prove extremely beneficial.

  • Personalizing – If you’ve ever been to a salon where you see the same hair stylist regularly, you might notice that he or she strikes up conversations by asking you questions about your personal life.  “How are your twin daughters? Isn’t their birthday coming up?” or “You recently moved across town right?  How do you like the neighborhood?” may be some of the ways the stylist makes you feel comfortable, important, and relaxed during your hair cut.  Most savvy stylists and other industry experts will tell you that the key to personalizing their service is very simple and even old-fashioned: write things down!  When engaging a customer in conversation, write down any memorable facts that were shared with you, such as marital status, children, occupation, etc.  Then, right before you meet with that customer again, quickly review your notes so you can bring up these details.  Everyone appreciates a personal touch, and they will share this feeling with others when recommending your business to their friends and family.
  • Partnering – Navigating the world of small business ownership can seem a lot like being thrown into the jungle to fend for yourself; and just like in the jungle, there is strength in numbers.  Use this to your advantage and find other small businesses with whom to join forces.  Teaming up with businesses that provide products or services that complement your own can have mutually beneficial results.  For example, the owner of a bed & breakfast could partner with a local bakery.  The baker could provide muffins, rolls, bagels, donuts, and other breakfast pastries that could be served with the guests’ breakfast.  In exchange, the owner could distribute the bakery’s business cards and cross promote certain products or services when a guest patronizes both establishments.  Each business is getting referrals from a different market, and incentives will keep customers coming back.
  • Fundraising – Getting involved with your community is a great way to network and introduce yourself to your customer base.  Contact your local chamber of commerce, places of worship, schools, etc. to find out how you can become involved in fundraising efforts and promote your business at the same time.  Many organizations hold Tricky Trays, raffles, flea markets, car washes, bake sales, and other small and large scale events.  Consider donating a gift basket to a tricky tray, setting up a table at a flea market, or volunteering at a car wash or bake sale.  These are wonderful opportunities to give back to the community, build business relationships, and increase your business.
  • Celebrating – This is the time of year when many businesses are promoting Teacher Appreciation Day by providing special discounts or incentives to their customers who are teachers.  Take this idea to the next level by choosing one or two groups a month to celebrate, such as nurses, administrative workers, and military personnel.  This will not only bring in more customers, but it will also facilitate building important business relationships with your clientele.

If you gradually and systematically utilize these networking avenues you will efficiently expand the opportunities for your growing business. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities that can increase your business.  Never be afraid to talk to others about what you do; you never know what awaits!  What opportunities can you add to our list?  Please share your ideas below!