You’ll not often hear a business owner say, “I have enough business now. I’m going to stick with what I’ve got and that will be that.” If you own your own business you will always be looking for new clients or new jobs. Whatever it is that you do, you will be looking for more. There are lots of ways to increase your business.
• You can advertise, which can be expensive and confusing. Is print really dying? Magazine, newspaper, radio? Maybe the internet?
• You could try phone solicitation. It’s a numbers game. Be prepared for hang ups and some rude suggestions if you interrupt someone’s meal or nap.
• How about Networking? How? When? Where?
Networking is probably the number one way to increase your business now and in the future. To be clear, the reference is not to the kind of network that involves making multiple computers all work together. In this case, “networking” refers to the cultivation of productive relationships for the sharing of information and services and creating a support system among people or a group with regards to employment or business. In the old days it was called, “working the room”.
Joining such a group in your area can be just what you need to provide the networking that will help your business continue to grow and prosper. The Durham Region is very fortunate in that there is a plethora of business groups available. If one doesn’t work for you another is sure to. There are groups that focus on women like The Business and Professional Women of Durham. There are Toastmasters groups that focus on the art of communication. There are various BNI (Business Networking International) meetings. BNI is quite possibly the most well-known organization and most successful for networking. They have a very structured strategy and meet weekly, usually for a breakfast or a lunch meeting. The group The Stacee-Free Team chose to be a part of is the Durham Contact Business Exchange. “Chose” may not be the most accurate way to say it, considering the DCBE would not exist if not for Judy Stacee-Cleaver, Broker of Record at Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage.
“In 1994 there were no BNI meetings east of Toronto. I invited two people to the Mincom New Choice Realty Ltd. Brokerage office, Anne Perala from Royal Financial Services and Steve Neilly from Classic Air. They showed up and that was our first meeting. It wasn’t long before we outgrew the space in our office and started having our meetings in local restaurants. We grew to about 40 members and at one point decided we wanted a little more flexibility and independence than was offered by BNI. We had a vote and decided to start the Durham Contact Business Exchange.”
On the 2nd Tuesday of the month the members of the DCBE get together for a delicious breakfast at Sauter’s Inn Restaurant on Old Kingston Road in Ajax. The group consists of business people who continue to use and recommend each other’s services. They all contribute, keeping the Durham Region a thriving business community. They have also given a lot back to the area by raising money for various charities over the years, including holding an annual charity golf tournament. Visitors are always welcome.
Rosemarie Sood, President of DCBE and owner of Profex Images tells us,
” They kept the best of BNI and relaxed some of the rules. Over the years, solid friendships and business connections have been forged. This group is made up of dedicated business professionals who are committed to networking effectively and supporting fellow businesses. I think that is hard to find in a lot of networking groups.“
There is a business club out there that is right for you and your business. Most clubs will let you attend three meetings before asking you to commit. Try a few on for size before joining one. It has to be the right fit for you to make the most of it. After that, it’s “business as usual”.