As an online business owner, It can be very easy to over think your advertising and marketing strategies. Even worse, we tend to overlook the most obvious group of potential customers. Your local businesses.

Every week we visit these potential clients while running our normal errands, but how often do you introduce yourself and tell them what you do for a living? Do you hand out business cards everywhere you go? Probably not. One of the reasons we fail to do this is due to either being shy or out of fear of rejection. We think “What if they say no? I will be embarrassed and humiliated in public!” First of all. No you won’t. The worst case scenario is that they will say no thank you and guess what? You didn’t have them as a customer before so you lost nothing. The most successful people in history have been rejected many times before they succeeded. One of the best examples of this is Abraham Lincoln. Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times – but he didn’t and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country.

The best case scenario is that they will say “I’ve been looking to redo my website ( or hire a caterer, photographer or whatever your business may be). Or maybe their brother or neighbor is looking for someone. Just think about it. How many times have you been looking for a company whether it be a contractor, plumber or landscaper and asked around to your friends and family who they recommend? We do this because we want to do business with people we know or someone we know KNOWS. We feel more comfortable spending our money this way. The point is, you’ll never know unless you ask!

I have to be more mindful of this advice myself. Just the other day I was at a car dealership I used to work at, giving some former colleagues a few business cards and one of them said that a friend of hers owns a beauty salon and is looking to set up a website. When I got home I mentioned this to Melissa and it turns out that my sister in law works for the very same salon. Clearly, I haven’t been networking locally at my fullest potential! The moral of the story here is that as an online business owner, it can be easy to hide behind the keyboard and get lost in the vastness of the world wide web of Twitter and Facebook. So next time your at the local pizza parlor or dry cleaners, introduce yourself and hand them a business card. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a discount on your shirts for providing them with such great service!

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