Make Networking Part of Your Business to get 'Ted's Toddler Toys' (or whatever) in to the public domain. Eventually, this will require some paid marketing, even if it's just a few words in the local classified ads. But there are numerous ways to get your name out there, that are completely free, and, more importantly, they work

Networking. Don't ignore this, it's crucial to your growth and survival. You've all heard the saying, 'people buy from people', and this is so very, very true.

You may at first be a bit of a shrinking violet, I certainly was, and the mere thought of standing up in a room full of successful, or so I believed at the beginning, business men and women, was more than I could handle.

Don't worry, a lot of people feel the same, although if you're like me, you'll believe that you are the only person there who's quivering in their boots, stilettos, roman sandals, or whatever your preferred form of footwear. I suggest looking around for groups that have been formed entirely for the benefit of new start ups, or those still considering starting up. There are plenty out there, and usually free.

One word of advice, and I am by no means an expert, and would never attempt to imply that I am; I'm just speaking from experience, and from advice given to me. Do not try and sell your business when networking. By this I mean don't cram it down everyone's throat.

Go along to a few meetings or groups; get to know people, and get them to know, like and eventually trust you. Find out if there's any way you can help them. Now, you may be thinking, 'how on earth can I, a complete novice, help anyone else?' You will be surprised.

We all know someone whom others won't know. The person you're chatting away to at a networking event may be further down the line with his business venture than you, but he may need to be put in touch with someone who can provide him with an essential, reliable service. There's every chance you can point him in the right direction. me, it will happen. I was just a few weeks in to running my first business, and at my first networking event, when I got talking to someone who wasn't very happy with his accountant. How about that? I'd recently been referred to a young single mum who specialised in small business accounts. She gained a valuable customer; I gained the respect and trust of both the guy at the event, and the accountant, who by the way, has just joined me in my network marketing business, and also become one of my closest friends.

There are also several online networking groups or forums, most of them free to join, where again you will gain support and advice, without having to meet face to face. Personally, I would suggest considering these as an extra method of getting yourself known, not the only method.