I love the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). My Greater DC Chapter is profoundly focused on giving members tools for business growth. At our most recent session, "Thriving In A Difficult Economy," panelist Joyce Bosc, President of Boscobel Communications, took a page out of her own book by being generous and helpful to all of us.
Her tips inspired my next two sets of "Take Five" -- the first, for building the connections essential to new business:
- Network, Network, Network.
Attend conferences, meetings, trade shows, events, receptions, galas; look for people you don't know, rather than hang with people you do; seek groups of prospects more than peers; be helpful and generous -- that comes back to you ten times over!
- Use Social Networks / Web 2.0
Top picks: LinkedIn (more formal); Facebook (more personal/social); Plaxo (favorite with big corporate America); ZoomInfo (find prospects and be found)... This stuff is real. Feel confused, frustrated, and most of all want to know when you've got time for all this? People who pay attention in just one session with Jen Abernethy, America's First Sales Stylist, generate qualified leads within seven days.
- Seek Speaking Opportunities
In Workshops, Panels, Community Chambers/Business Groups...
Position yourself as a thought leader. Research conferences your prospects will attend; if the program is set, offer to be a backup speaker. Increase visibility, send press releases about your gig.
- Start a Corporate Social Responsibility Program
Tough times mean more people need help. Pitch in. Increase visibility. Boost employee morale. Create press release opportunity. Show your character and values and attract like-minded allies who can help you and vice versa.
- Look for Low-Cost Sponsorships
In recessions, many people slow or stop marketing...which means you stand out more when you do. Consider: Bronze-level sponsorships; ask about opportunities for small business; barter your services for sponsorships; increase your organic search engine ranking as a result of greater links you generate from your sponsorships.