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Let the Buyer Be There!

Networking goes a long way for those who don't sell themselves short.

This story appears in the September 2004 issue of Start Up.

There are many different levels of business partnerships-from your interactions with vendors and investors to dealings you have with your landlord. These relationships may begin because of convenience, but very few evolve into long-lasting partnerships. Strategic alliances make it easier to achieve success; their common elements are trust, goal sharing and a good personality fit.

Entrepreneurs are often too selective when they choose who to talk to about their businesses, missing wonderful opportunities. A woman who started a bridal shop did not want to appear to be constantly "selling" to family members, so she decided not to mention her business to them. A cousin stopped in the store, loved it, and told everyone. Strategic alliance income from friends and family now generates more than 20 percent of the store's sales.

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