This is the motto of The Consultants’ Community and I hope you can understand why. If you are a local business that relies on local custom then you need to be aware of your community.

Most businesses focus on their customers and their competitors, which is a reasonable enough strategy, but when you look a little further it is amazing what you can find. Businesses who operate in your area could become your greatest assets. If you look to connect with other business owners who complement your business, you can start to grow your network.

Once other business owners get to know you they can start referring you to their customers and you can offer your customers access to a wider network of business services. In any local business community, you don’t have to look too far to find these people. Join up with one of the local networking groups (check Facebook, MeetUp and Google, you will be surprised how many you find) or join your local Chamber of Commerce.

The other thing to try and do is meet with the people you think you compete with. You will be surprised by how often synergies between similar approaches can lead to collaboration and long-term partnerships. There are so many different ways to approach the market and finding out how your local business community fits together will help you build your business.

If you want to do more to be part of your local business community contact The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au

As a member of a local business community, it is important to get out and about once in a while and meet your fellow business owners. One of the best ways to do this is to attend local business networking events but like anything in business, it is best to know what you are doing before you dive in!

Top tips:

  1. Make sure you have a solid elevator pitch – You will probably be asked to stand up in front of everyone at the event and tell them who you are and what you do
  2. Research the event to find out if it has a specific theme – is it an education based event, is it speed networking, do you need to prepare anything specific?
  3. Arrive early – being one of the first there means people will introduce themselves to you as they arrive and you are more likely to be in the centre of the group rather than the person standing awkwardly at the edge of the room pretending to read an email to look busy
  4. Plan to leave late – if at all possible, make sure you don’t have to rush off at the end as this is when some of the best conversations happen. You have just spent an hour or two with this group of people, you should now know who you want to catch up with so go grab them and see if they can hang around for a more in-depth catch-up
  5. Dress to impress – you don’t have to wear a suit but wear what you would to a meeting with a new client as that might be exactly what this is
  6. Have plenty of business cards with you – if you don’t have business cards, get some made up before the event
  7. Follow up the next business day at the latest – if you want to carry on the conversation drop the person an email saying it was great to meet you, connect with them on LinkedIn or even better get a date for a follow-up meeting in the diary before you even leave the event
  8. If you are planning to visit a lot of networking groups then you should invest in your own name badge – as a visitor to these groups, you will normally get a hastily written out sticky label that will fall off three minutes after you arrive. Invest a few dollars in getting your own badge made and it helps you to stand out as an experienced networker
  9. Don’t write off a group based on one bad experience – give it at least one more try, it could just have been an off week for that group. If it lets you down three times then probably best to move on
  10. You get what you pay for, keep that in mind – A free evening networking event that offers a complimentary drink will attract a very different crowd to a paid for breakfast event. If people are willing to pay money and attend a 7am event they are more likely to be serious about networking than the person who fancies a free wine after work

If you want any more tips or some suggestions of events to attend contact The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au or visit our Events and Networking Page.

As a small business owner, you are already used to doing everything yourself. It is just the way it is. You gave up the corporate job to do this on your own terms, so having to work out a few things along the way is just part of the process, right?

To some extent, yes, we have to learn by doing and developing your skills this way can be incredibly rewarding when you achieve the desired end result. There are, however, times when we just need to admit to ourselves that we need help.

Some of us have a natural eye for design or a gift for writing. Others can stand up in front of a room of people and have everyone hanging off their every word with seconds. Some can look at a page of numbers and see where to cut costs and increase profits. It is very rare that one small business owner can do all of this equally well.

Becoming self-aware when it comes to your strengths and weaknesses is an essential skill for any small business owner and knowing you can do something if you have to, but would get a better result if you got someone to help can be the difference between success and failure.

If you know what you are good at and can be honest enough to admit what you are not so good at then getting help when you need it could be the key to take your business to the next level.

If you want to have a conversation about the help your business needs get in touch with The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au

1. Who are you as a business?

2. What do you sell?

3. How can people buy it from you?

These questions are the most important factors when it comes to deciding how you operate as a business. Who you are as a business is your story. How did you get here? What drove you to start the company? Why should your customers want to know more about you and do business with? Once you know the answer to this and give the same answer consistently you have gone a long way to truly defining your business.

Next, you need to work out what you sell. Many businesses when they start out try to be all things to all possible customers. They will use phrases like “tailored to your needs” and “bespoke” but what they are actually doing is asking their customers to tell them what to sell to them. This is not always the best approach. If you can define what it is you sell and it resonates with existing pain points your customers have you are already ahead. If your customers see a solution to a problem they have in your offering they already feel you get them and where they are coming from. If they have to tell you what they, you already look like you are asking for their advice rather than the other way round.

The final questions, how do buy it from you, comes down to price. You know what you need to sell you services for to stay in business. You feel you are competitive in the market and you charge pretty much the same rates to all your customers. So, why don’t you tell people what it costs? Why do they always have to ask for a quote or an hourly rate? Be proud of your pricing.

If you want to talk about how you can best answer these questions then contact The Consultants’ Community today at info@theconsultantscommunity.com.au