Business Networking for the Minimalist Entrepreneur

A minimalist entrepreneur strives to become crystal clear on what types of relationships and clients add value to her business. This means there will be lots of tinkering with the marketing plan and frequent reviews of the value each client and referral buddy is contributing. The minimalist entrepreneur distinguishes herself from others at a networking event because she’s there looking for something specific, not just putting in time. Even though she understands that it’s necessary to spend time to build strong relationships with people, she doesn’t like to waste time at a networking event, which is why she sets some goals before she goes there.

At a networking event, she’s looking for a specific kind of person, a referral buddy, someone for whom she will be part of his sales team, and who will in turn be part of hers. She’s looking for someone for her referral team.

She doesn’t try to sell anyone on her products and services because she knows if she does, she might only make one sale. Instead, she tries to sell others on building a referral-based relationship, knowing that she isn’t just attracting the person in front of her; she’s attracting the 200-plus people he knows as well.

She’s looking for a few types of people that would add value to her network and whom she can support as well by sending referrals.

She looks for people with whom she shares the same types of clients. If she is a massage therapist, her clients might be the same people who work with physical therapists, fitness coaches, nutritionists, chiropractors, and alternative health care providers. If she makes custom jewelry, independent clothing retailers, wedding planners, and image consultants might share the same types of clients. If she’s a real estate agent, she’ll be looking for mortgage brokers, home inspectors, home appraisers, lawyers, and financial planners to add to her team. Having the same types of clients makes referral sharing easier.

The minimalist entrepreneur looks for people who can fill gaps in her network. If her friends have been asking her if she knows a good housekeeper, she’ll be on the outlook for one. If she already has a couple of great financial planners on her team, but neither of them would be appropriate for her holistic friends, she’ll be looking for someone to fill the space. If she gets her hair done by a talented hairdresser, but her hairdresser isn’t interested in sharing referrals, she’ll be looking for another talented hairdresser who is.

And she’ll be looking for people who share her values. If her customer service is such that she contacts a referral on the same day it is given to her, she’ll want her referral buddies to do the same. She won’t want to refer her best friends or clients and find out a week later that her referral buddy hasn’t yet contacted them.

Because the minimalist entrepreneur is clear on what she’s trying to accomplish at a networking event, she can build a strong team that, with nurturing, can supply a steady stream of new business. Low cost. Referral-based. Minimalist marketing strategy.