Businesses told to keep networking

I DON’T know about you, but I’m more confused than ever now! On the one hand we’re told Australia is riding high and one of the few countries to make it through the GFC relatively unscathed. Low unemployment, confidence in the future and so forth.

On the other hand there are reports that business faces a grim 12 months and to back that up Angus & Robertson and Borders stores across the nation have shut shop, Colorado, Bianco Structural Steel and Bettina Liano joining them.

And our strong Aussie dollar has had detrimental impacts on tourism, exports and retail. Add to this the ATO becoming stricter on tax debt, money movement is slowing down and there is general economic and political uncertainty.

Quentin Olde, partner at accounting and insolvency firm Taylor Woodings reckons “there remains a lack of evidence to suggest that the local and global economy is recovering”.

Peter Strong, chief executive of COSBOA agrees.

“I’m not hearing anything positive. Business is bad and people are not feeling confident,” he said.

Sounds grim, right? Business ebbs and flows. Australia’s current economic situation is a good reminder for us all that marketing of your business and networking activities should never stop. Now is a good time to renew a commitment to marketing.

Networking events are useful but many small-business owners let this aspect of their business go because they simply “can’t fit in” networking events. But networking is vital for your business’s survival.

If you’re experiencing a drop-off in work, follow up outstanding inquiries, It means you can increase your work in progress rather than finding you’ve finished and are waiting for work.

If you’re a sole operator, don’t underestimate the value of friends and family. Don’t be shy about asking for referrals.

Early on in my business I did a blatant cry for help to friends and family and it led to two strong leads, both of whom are still clients today.

Sit down with a calendar and pencil in local networking events – Chamber of Commerce meetings, Business After Hours, lunches – so you don’t miss them when life takes over.

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