Successful Networking For Your Business

During the past five years and throughout what has been a difficult time financially for many businesses, more and more entrepreneurs, small businesses and medium sized companies have realized that active networking is absolutely essential to business growth, particularly for start-ups and small businesses which may not have a large advertising budget, or a long list of contacts they can reach out to or rely on to spread the word about themselves or their company and the type of services or products they offer. Love it or hate it, networking for business is here to stay and it is fast-becoming a big part of the overall strategic plan for our business now and in the future.

While many people still prefer to stay away from networking events citing reasons such as “It’s a waste of time”, “No one ever gets me any business” or “All I’m doing is selling to other people who are trying to sell to me, it’s a pointless exercise”, the majority of us are realizing the enormous benefits to networking. When done properly, networking is an invaluable tool in helping us to meet others, grow our business and our network of contacts and also helping others to grow their business in the process.

While I am a big fan of social media marketing and using the power of social networking to attract new clients and customers through sites such as Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest, for the purposes of this article I am going to focus specifically on B2B networking and how you can use this form of networking to grow your business and reach potential customers and clients you may never have met otherwise.

People Buy From People

During the past few years in particular, there has been a shift in the way people are buying and who they are buying from. The “hard sell” no longer works quite as well as it did in the past and people are now buying from people they know and trust. It is true of course that we also buy from big, well-known brands, but the reason we buy from these companies is the same as the reason we are buying more and more from people we know – because we trust them. The difficulty facing many smaller businesses is that our advertising budgets don’t quite stretch to the same size as those of bigger brands, so we must engage and interact with people as much as possible through networking to promote ourselves and our brand and gain maximum exposure. By circulating and meeting others on a regular basis, we build up trust and relationships with others. This is a valuable way to attract new business and it is, without doubt, the simplest way by a clear mile.

“Word of Mouth” has, for a long time, been the easiest and most cost-effective way for any company to attract new clients. No big advertising fees, no sales calls, no direct marketing, no “hard sell” – just the good, old-fashioned way of passing on of information, recommendations and referrals from one person to another.

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Tips on How to Find Buyers for Export Business

Given all the competition that you have to face as an exporter in the market, it is equally difficult to get started with it. Even if you have decided to go with the line of products that is not much exploited in the market, you may still have to face a tough competition. The main challenge for an exporter is to find buyers for their products.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips on how to find buyers for export. Let’s find out what are the strategies that you can implement to draw buyers for your products.

1. Advertise Your Products with Proper Planning

In today’s competitive world, Advertising has become an important aspect of every business. A good advertisement can take your business to the great heights of success. Today, there are a lot of mediums for advertising that you can consider as per your requirement and budget. The visibility and popularity that these mediums provide make your business stand out in the crowd. Moreover, the money that you will invest in advertising is likely to get recovered within 6-12 months. This is because once your product creates a brand for itself; your buyers will start contact you themselves leading to increased sales revenue.

2. Business Connections Is the Key

It is advisable to create as many business connections as possible. It is the most efficient and fastest way to spread the word about your business and products that you are offering. You don’t need to spend even a single penny on this kind of marketing and yet your business name will be known by almost every person involved in your industry. The word is mouth marketing is the cheapest alternative to media advertising. It does not only raise brand awareness about your business, but also help you get contracts easily through referrals. It is also a good idea to create business relations with foreign organizations that know local buyers. This way you will be able to get business from different countries and continents as well.

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The Business Case for Cultural Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) and Managerial Intelligence (MQ) have been well established as crucial for senior leaders. EQ and MQ are insufficient if your organisation is operating across borders, distance and multiple time zones. Cultural Intelligence CQ is a ‘must have’ skill in today’s’ global environment.

CQ is a person’s capacity to function effectively in culturally diverse settings. Although Cultural Intelligence levels vary a great deal between individuals and within teams and organisations, the good news is that with appropriate training and responsiveness it can be developed.

Cultural Intelligence will increase productivity, reduce operating costs and improve talent development and retention.

In terms of your international markets are you asking?

• How can we gain a better understanding of our local markets?
• How can we ensure that critical IP, knowledge and expertise are not lost when we outsource and partner with external parties?
• Why are project timelines and budgets regularly ‘blown out’?
• Are our international relationships purely transactional?
• Why does innovation seem stifled and problematic?
• Are we a Culturally Intelligent organisation?
• Is CQ part of our organisational DNA?

If you are reading these questions with a nod, then you will intuitively understand that CQ is a business imperative! Cultural Intelligence allows leaders and their organisations a greater sense of connectivity with their local and overseas counterparts, facilitates the ability to tap into ‘what is happening on the ground’ and incorporates the knowledge and expertise to help make informed decisions, quickly and accurately.

The business case for CQ is:

• Open up new markets and provide for a deeper understanding of these markets
• Improve engagement with local staff
• Leverage local knowledge and expertise
• Improve innovation and creativity
• Reduce costs and improve timelines on projects
• Lead to greater collaboration between teams
• Develop greater understanding of what your local customers and clients need
• Establish/improve relationships and trust at a much faster rate

» Read more: The Business Case for Cultural Intelligence

6 Tips for Hiring the Best Freight Forwarding Company

Many businesses rely on a freight forwarder to send manufactured goods to their distributors, retailers and at times directly to customers. That being said if you chose the wrong freight forwarding company it can end up costing your business lot in the long term. This is why it pays to always find a company which is established, experienced, reliable and competent. Below we take a look at 6 tips which should help you find the right freight forwarding company.

Large versus small

When searching for a freight forwarding company it is important to bear in mind that larger companies tend to have more contacts with people like clearing agents. This means that if there is a problem the company can call in a few favors to get your shipment cleared. That being said having a wider network means that the company is able to handle your shipping load regardless of how much it increases. This is where a new, small or inexperienced company may fail.

Experience

Always look for an experienced freight forwarding company. Find out how many years a company has been in business and if there has been any change in management since then. Ideally, you will want to choose a company who has been in business for over 10 years. A company which has been doing business for around a decade indicates that they have the experience required to cater to your needs.

They need to be experts in what you want to ship

Many freight forwarding companies will ship almost anything but may not have experience with any particular items. You should always opt for a company that has lots of experience shipping items like yours. For instance, if you are shipping farming equipment you may want to choose a freight forwarder who has shipped a lot of farming equipment for businesses before. This will ensure that they are aware of potential issues, documents, taxes, custom clearance and laws governing your type of shipment.

» Read more: 6 Tips for Hiring the Best Freight Forwarding Company