According to the U. S. Business Administration in 2003 of the 5.7 million American businesses, 99% are considered to be small businesses with less than 500 employees. Small business owners continue to grow at a phenomenal rate. Many business strategies are employed to grow sales including: Search Engine Marketing, Internet Marketing such as online newsletters and traditional marketing such as radio, television and print. Another popular marketing strategy is business to business (B2B) networking through numerous vehicles such as Chambers of Commerce, formal networking organizations and professional associates.
However, in 2006 a new trend will emerge. Business networking will undergo a complete transformation through the concept of teleconferencing networking. This type of online networking is very new. The only company that I know who is currently offering this opportunity is Fast Pitch Networking. This is the innovative company that developed those 2 hour networking sessions where you have just 5 minutes to “pitch” what you do to 25 other prospects.
Just think about the advantages that this type of networking provides the small business owner:
- Geographic flexibility - If you have numerous locations or wish to expand to a new market, you can telephone into a conference and share what you do with others no matter where you are at that moment.
- Reduced costs - No costs for driving, parking to that weekly or monthly meeting. Also, there is no annual commitment as each meeting has a flat cost. Yes, there is a telephone charge, but many small business owners have flat long distance fees.
- More time - Since you can network from your office or home, you now have more time for additional appointments. You don’t have to allow additional time for traffic, road conditions, etc.
- Convenience - If you live in the northern states, you can avoid winter’s bad weather since you are calling from your office. Again, you attend when you can and pay for only those meetings that you attend.
- Additional Opportunities – You will have fresh individuals to connect with instead of the same faces that you see weekly or monthly who still haven’t become customers.
- Focus - In traditional networking environments, there are always distractions from people interruptions to food being served. With online networking or teleconferencing networking, the focus is on you. Now is YOUR time to shine.
If you are a small business owner who is an excellent communicator, has developed a strong “Elevator” speech and can quickly establish a rapport using online technology, then on-line networking can only catapult your business to that next level. Watch for this up and coming small business trend in 2006.
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