I want to start a business. How do I make contacts in my chosen industry?
BY Jennifer LeClaire
Running a One-Person Business mentors Paul and Sarah Edwards respond to the following question from an inc.com user: I would like to import ethnic paintings from India and supply them to dealers and galleries here in the U.S. Although I do have a source in India who will be supplying me with paintings, I am not really sure how to go about contacting the right people here.I would appreciate your suggestions and advice.
Paul and Sarah Edwards respond: There are many galleries in the U.S. alone. But before renting a mailing list from a firm such as Hugo Dunhill Mailing Lists or infoUSA.com, we suggest you contact galleries that are now selling Indian art. You can look for them on the Web by using search engines such as allonesearch.com, Google, and GoTo.com. Interview people at the galleries by phone or e-mail to determine such things as how they get Indian art now, if they are satisfied with their current sources, what other needs they might have, and what suppliers might do to help them more.
Once you know what gallery owners are looking for, an inexpensive way to generate interest is to create a Web site featuring your art and send out a simple mailing to your target audience, inviting people to stop by. There are plenty of places to create a site for free -- like Bigstep.com, BizLand.com, GoBizGo, and OhGolly.com. Make sure the content on your site is of interest to your potential customers. For example, including industry news may help you gain credibility and trust with visitors and make them more likely to become customers.
The Web offers you other opportunities to sell the art you wish to import. For instance, the previously mentioned places to build your site also offer e-commerce services. Auction sites such as eBay may also be a good place to find customers.