Local Business Marketing Network
By Dean McNamara
When starting a new business, or buying an existing one, your first business marketing strategy should be to consider what local businesses around you will be good trading partners.
Many people overlook the power of local networks in their marketing efforts. Other local business owners make ideal trading partners. They know the locality, they know the market place, and they know the people.
Step One in local business marketing is to make a list of the businesses in your area that a potential match. Obviously if the business is a direct competitor they may be reluctant to help you out. However, do not write them off altogether, we can discuss how you might approach them at another time. For this exercise just look at businesses that have a symbiotic relationship with you (that is to say they are businesses that either you supply, or that supply you, goods and services.
Step Two is to approach these businesses. Do not blunder through their door and tell them that you are new in town and you want them to send to customers. In stead, introduce yourself and explain who you are and what your business is. Then explain to them how you can help their business.
People will be much more likely to listen to you if you show them that you have put their interests first. An example of this might be if you own a restaurant. You can approach a local produce grower and after introducing yourself, you can suggest that you would like to support his business by purchasing your vegetables directly through him. This will save him packaging and handling fees in sending his produce to market, while ensuring that you get first pick of the freshest vegetables.
Remember to treat this person like a business partner or a friend. Do not try and screw his prices down to where he is not making money but be fair in your dealings and he will make sure you are well looked after. If there is a product that he cannot supply you with, he may know of someone else locally that can supply it. By recommending them he is building goodwill with both that person and with you. Be sure to mention in your dealings with the other person who it was that suggested them.
The result of establishing a local business network like this will stand you in good stead in the community. People talk to each other, and when your name comes up the business people you deal with will give a good report. Without the support of the local community most businesses will fail. With the support of the local community many businesses have had success that has gone global.
John Donne is quoted as saying "no man is an island." What rings true of man is even more true when it comes to a business. Without clientele you do not have a business. A good business person will understand your customers loyalty is built through relationships.