I recently attended a small business marketing event put on by my local Chamber of Commerce, and was even fortunate enough to be asked to sit in on the panel discussion that took place after the keynote speaker. What struck me as so encouraging about the situation was how open and honest everyone in the room was – about their business, their plans, and most of all their experiences. Attendees asked some great questions, offered some terrific real life case studies, and even shared tips for finding vendors. It was really inspiring… and incredibly educational!

Take what works and leave the rest

I can’t stress enough that in marketing (as in life, really!) experience is our best teacher. When we find something that works, we do it again and again. When we try something the bombs, we (ideally) shelve it. But here’s a little secret… we don’t have to learn from just our own experiences.

Although it may often feel as though you are operating your business in a vacuum and that you alone have to come up with all the great marketing and promotion ideas for your business. Trust me, you are not alone, and with a little help from your friends you can get some great ideas and save yourself some major headaches.

So how do you do it?

If you take every opportunity to connect with like-minded business owners/operators, whether they be businesses in a similar industry or in a completely different industry altogether, you have an opportunity to learn from their experience. You can find out what they are trying, what worked for them, and what didn’t. Most importantly you can start to ask questions to figure out WHY they got the results they did, and then decide whether their tactics could work for you, all before you spend a penny.

Market research at its finest, and all while you are mixing and mingling and building meaningful relationships with your peers! And if your Chamber events are anything like ours, you might get some great snacks too…

When was the last time you reached out to your network of business peers and swapped stories? Did you find it worthwhile, and why? Leave a comment below…

~ AK