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3-2-1 Contacts

Make the most of everyone you meet by turning acquaintances into contacts.

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This story appears in the May 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Talking about your business to anyone who'll listen is second nature, but the key to making beneficial contacts during startup is finding the right places to talk and the right people to talk to. "Examine your target market and where those decision-makers hang out," says Amy Stevens, co-founder of marketing firm Marketing Edge Ventures.

Perhaps you're looking for retailers to carry your product or for business networking groups to help you connect the nuts and bolts of startup. Define exactly what you want to accomplish as you establish new contacts. Says Stevens, strike up conversations using your 30-second pitch, explaining who you are and the benefits you offer that consumer. Then, measure your results. "The minute you get back to your car, make notes, get out the business cards you just received and write [out] what you're going to do with each of those leads," says Stevens.

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