When you’re self-employed, you’re never really “off duty”. No matter what you do, it’s not going to be your typical 9-5 working situation. Not only do you have the work to do, or the staff to oversee, but you need to think about marketing, and budgets, and product development and, well, everything.

No single element of a business has more importance than another: ultimately, they all need to come together to complete the package. However, marketing is definitely right up there on any successful business owner’s priority list. Of course, marketing can take on many different forms.

It’s not just a case of leaflets, or social media, or the occasional advert. As a business owner, YOU are the business, which means you have to do everything you can personally to promote your company. Which, yes, usually means networking.

That said, not all situations are officially labelled as “networking”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t network anyway.

Consider the plumber who has to make a supply run to B&Q or Plumbfix. They pull up in their van, get out and wander around the store. Any luck they’ve also got branded work gear on to complete the look. Another customer spots them, maybe has a conversation, and immediately they have a lead for more work.

That’s not the sort of situation you can necessarily see happening, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it. So, here are our top tips for always being ready.

#1 – Remember opportunity can strike anywhere

The first thing you need to know is that opportunity can strike anywhere, and it often does. Which means you have to be able to represent yourself in a good light, certainly whilst you’re in good mode. So, look the part. If you have a branded uniform, wear it with pride. Remember your company name is on display, so act accordingly.

#2 – Carry cards with you

There’s nothing worse than offering someone your card, and realising you’ve left them in your van, handbag, or bedside table. Keep a couple of packs around in logical, convenient places, so no matter where you are, you have your contact details handy.

#3 – Prepare your pitch

You might think that pitches are just for networking meetings, where you’re supposed to stand up and introduce yourself, but they’re not. They can be useful in all sorts of situations. Take our plumber as an example, someone may ask precisely what he does. It would be easy to reply “I’m a plumber,” but that’s hardly helpful.

Being able to give a succinct answer, such as “All aspects of general plumbing, but I specialise in wet room installation,” sounds much better, is politer, more professional and actually much more useful. It would definitely make a better first impression.

Professionally organised events can also provide a fantastic opportunity for networking. For example, our seminar taking place tomorrow is not only a brilliant chance to find out more about networking, from one of the experts in the field, but will also give you a chance to speak to other like-minded and locally based business owners. Thursday, 12 September 2019 from 13:00 to 17:00 Sedgley Park Rugby Club, Park Lane Suites, Park Lane, Whitefield M45 7DZ.