Join a networking and referral group like Local Business Network (LBN) or Business Networking International (BNI). This may also take the form of joining a local business association, rotary, or other similar group. Joining these groups offers you an opportunity to meet and network with other small-business owners in the spirit of bringing opportunity to one another. By getting to know your fellow entrepreneurs, you broaden your personal network—and therefore the value you bring to your prospects and clients through your ability to refer problem-solvers to them—while maintaining a finger on the pulse of the local market.
Tip: These groups can be wonderful sources of referrals, as well as training in the world of business-to-business relationship building.
Tip: Websites like Meetup.com and LinkedIn.com can also be a great source for meeting and networking with local entrepreneurs.