Business networking - be prepared - Business Works
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Business networking - be prepared

Pietro Pagani, Creative Manager, Vistaprint Consumers prefer personal contact through networking, however small business owners aren't clued up on its benefits, with 12% not even knowing what networking is according to Pietro Pagani, Creative Manager at Vistaprint.

The recent poll revealed that more than 26% of small business owners arenít currently networking because they donít think itís relevant to them, however 56% of Brits would be more inclined to use or recommend a service from someone who they have met face-to-face.

More than 54% of small business owners believe they are good with people, yet 20% say that having the confidence to approach a new person face-to-face is their biggest barrier when networking.

Networking doesnīt always have to be such a scary prospect and business leads can often simply come from friendly social situations. Some of the more surprising places small business owners have sniffed out business leads include local recycling centres, the scene of a traffic accident, on a flight or even at the hairdressers, proving networking is something that can be done anywhere and anytime.

My top tips on business cards

  • Include obvious information like your address, phone numbers, e-mail and website, but also think about including a logo, a corporate message or motto, to make it unique.
  • The reverse side is a good place to offer something a bit different, such as a photo, image, map or calendar.
  • Your business card reflects the credibility of your business so the design is important. Keep it relevant and simple.
  • Position the information to ensure it doesnít get lost or look a mess. It's important to communicate who you are and what you do straight away. If you do use colours, make sure these match or complement any colours you may have in other promotional materials.

36% of small business owners say drumming up new business is the least favourite part of their job, but simple networking is an effective way to gain new business and is just about having the right tools and building relationships.

Handing out business cards for example, can be an effective networking tool, with more than 56% of small business owners using them. Consumers often refer back to business cards for contact details with 56% of the public saving them in a drawer or on the fridge for a later date. More than 38% of business owners said some leads from giving out a business card have even been known to come off more than six months later.

A business card is not only an effective networking tool, but a professional and attractive one has swayed more than 58% of people to choose one particular service over another.

YES! Driving School - a case study

Pete Wilkinson, YES! Driving School Pete Wilkinson is a driving instructor from Blandford, in Dorset. He is a co-owner of YES! Driving School and used Vistaprint business cards to reach out to new pupils. He also stars in the latest Vistaprint TV advertising campaign.

I qualified as an approved driving instructor in April 2011 and I knew that once I had an initial supply of pupils, I would get referrals, but I had to let people know about my business first. My partner, Carol, had used business cards to promote her wedding make-up business, so I decided to give it a go.

I took my cards to local fast food outlets, motor part shops, hairdressers and restaurants to either leave a pile or pin a couple to notice boards. I also put a pack together which was then placed in various Sixth Form common rooms.

My first enquiry was just two weeks later from a customer who had picked a card up from a pizza shop. Another client spotted my card on a restaurant noticeboard and chose mine over four other driving instructors as it was 'the most eyecatching', so having a great card works.

My top tip is to make sure you always have business cards with you as you never know who you're going to meet or when you may need to take advantage of a business opportunity. When networking, even if speaking with someone who doesn't need driving lessons, I always hand them a card so they can keep in touch. Hopefully, at a later date, they may come across someone who needs driving lessons and hand them my card.



For more information please visit: www.vistaprint.co.uk



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