Starting a business in the internet age is so simple that it can be easy to forget that in the past, you had to leave your computer to do things like find new business and pitch potential clients. Many of us get so absorbed in the fact that most of our work is done online and we have clients in all kinds of locations, that we forget there is a local small business network that we could benefit from being part of. Whatever city you live in, there are probably lots of other entrepreneurs working in their homes or offices who you could form good working relationships with.
Not All Networks Are Online!
In the social media age, we look at our networks as those wide reaching things that happen on LinkedIn and Twitter, rather than at parties and seminars. However, ‘old school’ networking still works best, as you can form much more informed relationships and build trust more quickly. It pays to get out there and go to any local business networking events you can find. Even if you have no clients in your city and by the nature of your business don’t care where your clients are based – you also need services and supplies yourself, and you may meet the best people to provide them to you this way!
Giving Business to Local Businesses Builds a Business Eco-System
If you, for example, are a business in Gloucester who wants to turn their old website into a responsive one, using a web design Gloucester company rather than one from another city or country may well open you up to a range of new possibilities as you form a relationship with them. If you are a marketing company looking for someone to do content writing for you, finding someone local means you can form a strong working relationship and possibly even get work from some of their existing clients. Some services you are bound to get locally, like printing or legal services, but again, think of this as relationship building – your printer or accountant may need some SEO done or a new logo designed, or whatever it is you do! As local businesses go to each other for the services they need, a strong eco-system of businesses supporting businesses develops and strengthens the local small business community.
Search Local First
As well as attending any local networking opportunities you can, whenever you need a service, even if it is something that could be done remotely by someone with the right skills anywhere in the world, try searching locally first. At worst you are keeping your money in the local economy, at best it could lead to useful new connections and maybe even some new opportunities for your own business!
Even in an age where the world is small, the strength of your local business community is a good thing to have behind you, so never forget that while you operate online, you still have a place in the flesh and blood local business world!