Developing Support Networks for a Small Business

Have you ever thought about:

Who looks after your computer when it breaks down?
Who do you speak to when needing financial advice?
Who advises you about particular software to use, or where to get your printing done?

Once you have started your business, it is a good idea to build a support network as quickly as possible. Most people think of business networks as a way to get business but have you ever considered that these are also a source of service providers for your business?

This can be achieved by joining local business networks that are already in operation. In this way you get to meet other business owner/operators and find out who they rely on for stationery, printing, computer support, service providers, telecommunications, software and so on. Knowing that you have a ready group of suppliers means you can establish accounts to operate your business without necessarily having to pay out immediately upon needing something (good from a cashflow point of view). Don’t forget that many of the supplies you use to operate your business could be charged to your clients as a reimbursable expense. This is particularly in the case of printing, stationery, postage and similar other items if you are a service provider.

Where will you find these support networks? Try some of the following:

Business Network International (BNI)
Leads Club
Local Chamber of Commerce
Business Referral Groups
Local council or county business groups
Check your Yellow Pages for other membership based groups

Developing a support network around you as you develop your business will help bring in the expertise you need without having to engage employees to fulfil those roles that aren't required on a fulltime or regular basis. KMT

Tags: service providers, business support, business networks, cashflow

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