March '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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3 8 P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 2 0 clients and people who will recommend you is what keeps your business running and generates income. Networks can also be a huge source of support and knowledge. It's definitely worth building one of your own. Fortunately, there are some things women can do to make the networking process a little easier. BE PREPARED Do your homework before you go to the event where you want to network. Who is going to be there? Who are you especially eager to talk with? Work on an elevator pitch that describes you, your business, and what you do in a few sentences. Spend a bit of time thinking about each person you specifically want to talk to and determine precisely what you want to ask. Prac- tice and role play the moment of the ask. How will you phrase your question? What responses might you receive back and what will you say back? While you don't want to come off as robotic and scripted, the more prepared you are, the more comfortable you're likely to be. You should also make sure you're well supplied with business cards and a notebook or somewhere you can put notes about the conversations you had and the people you met. NOTICE DAILY NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES Because of the nature of a lot of decoration businesses, a potential customer can be found in the grocery store, in line at the bank, or at a Mommy and Me class. Make a practice of being aware of opportunities to promote your business and make it your goal to seize those opportunities when they appear. The more practice you get at promoting yourself and your business, the more comfortable you'll be. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU BRING TO THE TABLE Networking isn't just about gaining benefits for yourself (or it shouldn't be if you're doing it correctly), it's also about what benefits you can bring to others. Spend some time figuring out what benefits you have to offer those with whom you're trying to make connections. Do you have extensive knowledge in a particular area? Have you navigated a particularly tricky prob- lem successfully? Knowing your strengths and what you have to offer often makes it easier to approach others and easier to ask for what you need since you know you can provide benefits in return. This also tends to speak to the need many women have for collaboration and offering support. WOMEN'S NETWORKING ORGANIZATIONS WOMELLE (A business community for women and leadership): NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS: FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR ASSOCIATION: SHE RUNS IT (Mostly marketing and tech): ELLEVATE: WOMEN IN GARMENT DECORATION FACEBOOK GROUP:

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