Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Growing a Community of Businesses

Part of growing your business on MerchantCircle is networking between businesses in the same town, folks that you know through community involvements like town meetings, church gatherings, or fundraisers can all be part of your network. These relationships tell your current and potential customers more about you. What's also great is that building your business network is no longer restricted to connections in your hometown. You can expand your businesses reach by connecting to other establishments in surrounding areas and the additional places in which you do business. For example, Sound Wave Entertainment -- a DJ service out of Huntersville, NC - has formed alliances with businesses like It's Party Time from Concord and Digital QuickColor / Sir Speedy from Charlotte.

Through MerchantCircle's Business Network area, there are ways to manage and endorse affiliations like those above. You can let your customers know who you recommend and who recommends you. There's also a forum where you can participate in discussion of topics like "What's your greatest business challenge?" and "Generate More Business Online." So, not only can you promote businesses you already know by endorsing them, you can also make more business buddies through interaction in the forum.

Creating and sending monthly newsletters to your business friends also helps keep them up-to-date with what's going on with your shop. Even though there are several differences between online and face-to-face affiliations, one thing that is the same is that connections form and grow through communication. Communication through blogs, newsletters, and forums is especially important for online affiliations to help compensate for the absence of face-to-face time.

Getting in contact with other businesses provides moral support and increases the amount of customers that are sent your way. It's great how far "does a great job" and "always reliable" goes when it comes to spreading the word to customers!

Check out Anointed Hands from Hilo, HI. They're another business promoting their favorite people to work with. Be sure to take a look at the great things they're saying about those businesses and what business owners are saying about them in return!

When it comes down to it, Business to Business networking can be seen as purely business promotion or it can be seen as community-building between people who want to support fellow local stores and their shared customers.

I hope you're up for building connections!


1 comment:

  1. Ryan

    This is a great set of insights.

    It is interesting to watch how these things jump from town to town and how some types of businesses work together.