Over the last several months, I’ve watched eBiz owners become increasingly frustrated in starting or running their online businesses. Hey, it’s no big surprise. The economy sucks eggs, and it’s not our fault but there’s nothing we can seem to do about it. People are scared half to death about whether or not they’ll have a job next week, and where the money will come from if they don’t. Those of us who have decided to be our own bosses are getting increasingly worried about how we’ll be able to pay our bills if the money we invest in ecommerce doesn’t pay off.

The fact is that most people who start online businesses do NOT succeed, and there’s a very good reason for that. There is one major difference between people who succeed and people who fail. The vast majority of people who succeed know what PERSONAL NETWORKING is and how to use it.

Personal Networking is as simple as understanding how to communicate with people in business, and communicating with people who understand business and are willing to share. It’s about learning how to deal with people in business.

As ONE example of Personal Networking, most newcomers are afraid to deal with large companies, such as wholesale suppliers. If you’re like most people, you see wholesale suppliers as giant faceless monsters that chew up small business owners and spit them out for breakfast. You’re nervous about contacting them, afraid they won’t see you as someone who is important enough to work with. You have no idea what to say to them, and are afraid of saying the wrong thing and blowing your chance to get a good supply of the product you want to sell.

The most important thing to realize is that wholesale suppliers are people too. When you call a supplier, you’re talking to a Salesperson. That Salesperson has a family. A Mom, a Dad, brothers, sisters, kids, friends, a dog, a mortgage, a car that breaks down when they least expect it, bills to pay, bad hair days, and all the rest of the things that come with simply being human.

There is a person just like you on the other end of that phone line or email address, so act like it! All you have to do is talk to them. When you talk to a supplier (or anyone else in business) simply treat that person like a friendly acquaintance. As you work with them, start to form a personal relationship, just like you would with a casual friend.

Anyone in business who feels like you’re at ease talking to them will be at ease in working with YOU, and you’ll get much farther with them than you would if you act like they have bad breath and you don’t want to stand too close to them.

This example is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Personal Networking. It starts there, and grows into getting into contact with others in business, and working together as groups of business owners. There’s tremendous strength in numbers and in the sharing of information, experience and common goals, and that makes Personal Networking is a critical skill to learn if you want to survive and prosper in business.

By Tisha Hedges

Director of Operations for Worldwide Brands, Inc

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