Networking Is Working For Me
It has been about 10 weeks since I registered my accounting business and took the plunge of testing my entrepreneurial skills. I have my BBA. I took classes in marketing and sales. Of course, that was more than 20 years ago. I didn't even have a cell phone back then. And if I had a phone, it probably would have been bigger than an iPad. So digital marketing and having an online presence is really just what I know from being a Mom sharing the stories of the raising of my children.
So, I started from the basics. I had a Facebook page by Day 2 of the business. The website (which was completely uncharted for me) was up in the first two weeks. Followed (very quickly) by an Instagram profile.
The mechanics of creating these marketing tools were not huge barriers. Like I said, I have been marketing how great my sons are for almost 17 years! But the audience is different when you are trying to convince a complete stranger that you are the one to manage their business finances. And engagement is no longer just about promising to get married. And impressions are not just a comedian showing us how similar to the current politicians they can make their voice sound. I have learned that reach is more than just stretching to get the jar off the top shelf. And a CTA is asking your followers to do something (a Call To Action) not a reference to the Canadian Transportation Agency.
With all of this learning of new technologies and new ways to interact, I have learned another powerful lesson. There is still a place for good, old fashioned networking. The way that I have networked is different than it once would have been. The basic premise is the same. I have told everyone that I know that I have started this adventure. I have been networking in some Facebook groups. I joined the groups to find other women like me who were small business owners. I was hoping to learn from them. The biggest lesson so far -- keep your ears open (or eyes open if you are scanning your social media) for an opportunity to tell people who you are and how your business would help them.
Seems simple enough. But, as I am working through my first group of clients - the importance of networking (even new online networking) is so clear. None of these new clients came from a paid advertisement. My first 4 clients, and this is how they found out about me.
1) Saw my husband's FB post about my new business.
2) Saw my post on a FB "Mommy" site
3) Posted a call for help on a FB group and took me up on my offer to talk.
4) Saw my post on a FB Female Business group and reached out for help.
I am sure that there is a place for paid advertisements. But, the testimonials of people who know you and your business is still an important factor. In the early stages of business just having the courage to put yourself out there can lead to the momentum you are trying to build. The social media, the website, the google my business account, etc... are all the reinforcements you need to show these prospective clients that you are the one.
I don't know if my experience is unique. But, it seems that the new business marketing strategy that focuses on that personal touch is working for me. I am excited to have started this journey. I would love to hear if your own experience is like mine, or if I am just lucky.