If you are passionate about your business as I am about mine, then you are matching your skills to people who could benefit from them. You need to meet people and discover if there is the potential for a successful business relationship. It is not about creating networks anymore, surely we should be thinking in terms of fostering healthy business communities. Such community building can revitalise a local area, make real changes. Hawking goods and services is opportunist and short sighted, in my mind anyway.
My journey thus far has led me to meet the most incredible and supportive people in communities online. The generosity of complete strangers on social media and business groups is simply overwhelming, from advice and free books to the support and encouragement that drives you forward. I have contributed and become a part of communities I know I will stay with for a long time. Without doubt social media has allowed me to connect with people who are right where I want to be, showing me it can be done.
However, I have come to the point that I have thrown out my social media net as far as it should go. It provides valuable resources for me in a very practical way. The business cannot be a business without people. A different approach is needed, I feel, to bring the business the rest of the way. My past experience has predominantly been proofreading academic work for students and teaching staff. It can be the bread and butter of many proof readers. I had a different vision for my business. I believe in investing in your local community when you can. For example instead of having my business stationery dealt with online, I use my local printing shop. If I have built my business locally with the support of local people, why would I conduct business exclusively elsewhere? I am already making business connections.
It goes without saying I will support anyone who requires my proofreading skills from anywhere around this spinning blue globe of ours, but I decided I would direct my proofreading to support the local small business community in my area. I have begun my quest to reach out to local businesses by going ‘Old School’ as they say. This week I have begun writing letters on letter headed paper with attached business cards addressed to certain decision makers. I have printed up small but eye catching ‘window-sized’ posters and flyers to hopefully pop in a few local shop windows.I have a list of businesses and groups from my local directory so that I may address the correct person by name. I have researched their business so I am able to demonstrate how I could potentially support their work in a real way, placing my skills in their world naturally.
By doing this I show I have made an effort to speak to the correct person, that I know about the work that they do and exactly how I believe I can help them achieve their goals. My business card and letter, in their hands, can be kept permanently or passed to others. Physically it could migrate from its point of origin, an email can just be deleted and forgotten. It is the first week adopting this method of reaching out, but I believe the personal touch will prove powerful. The people in my online community groups taught me just how important the personal touch can be!