I meet a fair number of small business owners and startup entrepreneurs who are very timid about getting out and meeting other business owners. Or maybe they do go to events, but focus on free food and holding up the wall. Then they complain about how difficult it is to get new business.

I can completely understand how intimidating it can be. But your priority must be to succeed. Therefore you have no choice but to suck it up, step out of your comfort zone, and get yourself in gear.

Jump Start Your Networking

  • Consider joining a Chamber of Commerce. Find out if they have a free “Let’s Get Acquainted” session to meet and ask questions.
  • Contact your local Small Business Development Center. You can get free counseling to help get ideas how to reach your target audience.
  • Search Meetup.com for local, free business networking events. It’s a great opportunity for you to get out, practice your 15 second elevator speech, exchange business cards, make contacts.
  • Offer to make short, educational presentations to networking groups.

After you’ve done this consistently for awhile, you’ll figure out how to pick and choose what types of events are best to connect with the people you’re looking to meet.

You Found Someone To Talk To. Now What?

  • Try to be interesting.
  • Portray yourself as a problem solver.
  • Be specific about the type of client you’re looking for.
  • Always ask the other person who the ideal client is for their business.
  • Write notes on the back of the business cards you collect.
  • Connect with interesting people on Linkedin shortly thereafter.

You’ve got to do this. This is the easiest way to make connections. You might not get business immediately, but you might get referrals down the road.

Hope you find this useful. If you have some additional suggestions, please add to the comments below. Thank you.