Do you know the name of the business owner who has an office across the street from your office? How about the name of the business owners you see everyday on the walk to work from the train?
This is a major oversight.
Gone are the days when neighbors brought brownies to your doorstep as a welcome gift. An unfortunate side effect of technology is less face time with neighbors. This is the same when it comes to business owners and their neighboring businesses. We all have good intentions, but as business owners, we get laser-focused on the day-to-day operations and don't find the time to introduce ourselves around the neighborhood.
Because each community has its own personality, business owners can help and learn the most from those that have similar experiences within the same community.
I spoke with Rohit Prakash, the CEO and founder of Townsquared, a new social network specifically for local neighborhood business owners to connect.
Here are three reasons why he says you should care:
1. We're all in this together.
Business owners operating in the same city and neighborhoods face similar issues. From city ordinances and road closures, to taxes and rent values, business owners have a big say in what happens in their own communities. When owners can come together on the issues that affect them all, regardless of the industry, we all win.
2. Two (or three) heads are better than one.
You take advice from your lawyer, your accountant, and even your mom. They are pros in their field (love you, mom!) and you don't second-guess them. They're trained, and better yet, experienced, in their profession, and they've seen things. Business owners are the same. Through trial and error, they have failed and succeeded (in no particular order), and they have a lot to teach.
By asking them advice, you'll find that more often, they're willing to help.
3. Partners in success.
Let's face it -- you opened a business to make money. But many small businesses close each year due to the struggle of getting people in the door. Marketing is a huge part of business success, and working together with your neighboring businesses can be a great tool in bringing people in the door. From cross-promotions to coordinating neighborhood events to strategic discounting, partnering with your neighbors can be a funneling source of getting people to spend money in your store.
All you have to do is start the conversation.
Challenge: Talk to one business owner in your neighborhood today and ask her name. Find one thing you have in common with this business owner besides the neighborhood! Report back your findings in the comments section below, and let's see if we can build the world's largest online neighborhood of businesses!