Online Networking

Every where we look nowadays there are networking sites springing up all over the place. So which ones should you join? I don't think there is an easy answer to that. I think you should test the water and see which ones work for you personally.

Since starting my business in February I have sampled many forums and network sites. Some of them have felt like a complete waste of time to me and yet there are the odd ones that have actually had a real benefit for me personally.

On a recent Marketing course the trainer told us the best way to market your business is face to face. People buy from people. She's not wrong. But.......we don't just sell to local markets anymore. We can now sell our goods and services to national and international markets as well.

This being the case I feel there is a need for a good networking forum. My personal favourite is UK Business Labs which can be found at

Unlike some forums it's not full of people wanting everyone to start their business for them or do everything for them for free. There are genuine people on there who will give you sound advice and helpful links.

I would name them but they would just get swell headed, lol!! They know who they are though and I have already thanked them.

I have found a new confidence thanks to these people, I have found a stationery supplier who will save my Clients a lot of money, I have had links to the CRM provider that I am signing with, and so many more.

I also would like to think that in some small way I can help others out as well. I may not have been in business for myself for long but I have been working for over 20 years and have picked up some useful information and contacts along the way.

It is also great when you are feeling a bit down or going through a bad patch, there is always a shoulder to cry on, a word of advice or a virtual hug, and then when things go well, there are people to share your good news with you and give you a virtual pat on the back as well.

Do check out the forums and networks for yourself, find the one that suits your style and your particular business model. Remember not to spam, people want to know about you, your business, not your hard sell in your first few posts. Read the rules, read the other posts and join in.

That brings me to Twitter. To be honest I really couldn't understand what it was all about. I already had facebook, what did I need another profile status for. I now use Facebook for friends and Twitter for business. I follow some really interesting, intelligent people on Twitter. And it's amazing how much knowledge they can share in just 140 letters!!

I know people are winning business through Twitter, and I also know that it is growing and becoming influential. Even the banks are on Twitter, as proved when someone had complained at not getting a suitable response in weeks and within a couple of hours of their Twitter post had received a full resolution!

So off you go, check out these networking forums and resources, and do please let me know how you get on. If you do join UK Business Labs please do say hello.

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