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Did you know that on average 70% of all new business is gained through word of mouth and positive recommendation? You may not realise it but you’re probably referring potential customers in everyday conversations at networking events, school functions, sporting events, at the pub and even Sunday afternoon barbecues.

Two local Port Macquarie small businesses have proven that building strong relationships and having referrals is the key to increasing their client base and in turn their profits.

The Pack Leader business owner Kerrie Whiteman said she has gained new business by attending a local forum and networking group, which she joined six months ago.

“At first I felt totally out of my comfort zone walking into the room with such a big group of people, but it has been so beneficial for my business. I met a lady who then introduced me to the owner and manager of a local veterinary hospital – and now I’m doing business with them”, said Ms Whiteman who is a local Mobile Dog Behaviourist & Trainer.

Squeaky Clean business partners Gary and Katrina Crane found cold calling and relationship building has been positive for their thriving business.

“We decided to approach our targeted clients rather than wait for them to hear about us, “Mr Crane said.

“We made contact by phone in the first instance and then arranged an appointment to deliver our proposal face to face.”

Here they share their tips on networking:

  • Get out there and learn from other business people, share ideas and find out how they do business
  • Networking doesn’t have to be face to face – try using social networks such as Facebook
  • Maintaining relationships is critical – ensure you are prompt and provide exceptional customer service so you are well known for this
  • Do your research, prepare for your business functions and meetings
  • Work out what your customers’ needs are and make yourself the solution to their problem

Both businesses received assistance through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, which provided them with training and mentoring to start up their businesses.

“NEIS helps you to understand what it actually takes to run a business, and how to keep track of everything”, Ms Whiteman said.

“We enjoyed networking within the NEIS group and constantly bounced ideas off each other”, Mr Crane said.

If you would like to turn your business idea into reality, call Aden Harris NEIS Facilitator today on (02) 6589 7300.



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