Real World Networking Report 2008

Real World Networking 2008

2008 was a great year for me. I doubled my income, I grew my business, I made some great friends, I learned a lot and I had a blast while doing it. Here’s a quick review of where I got my business from during the year.

Business Connections Report

This colourful graph is a hand drawn representation of where all my business came from in 2008. The main nodes off of me (in the middle) are:

The exercise produced some interesting information. For instance I discovered that out of the 60 clients I had in the last year, 40% of them originated from contacts I made through my mum’s design business. However, these 24 clients only accounted for 27% of my annual revenue.

I also discovered that my most lucrative deals in the year originated from contacts I’d made through Damson Technologies. Fin and Donal don’t know this yet, but a whopping 48% of my revenue in 2008 came from businesses they put me in touch with (thanks lads!). A few other interesting stats resulting from this graph are that I get a healthy amount of business from my website, about 18% of the total, and that the areas with the most referrals from existing customers were contacts originating from family or friends.

A Referral Continues To Be The Best Path To New Business

This brings me to my main point, which is that I now know I can get business from anywhere. This graph is relatively even and I can see that I get business from all areas of my life. And even better then that, over half of the business I got this year was a referral from a referral!

Some people poo poo the idea of using your friends and family as a source of business, but I think if you ignore these then you’re ignoring the best possible source of business you can have. Now I’m not suggesting that you lean on those closest to you to support your business, that’s just plain wrong. But what I am suggesting is that you use them and the people they know as a platform for launching your network of business contacts.

Word of Mouth Is Still King

Even in this day and age, the best source of new business for almost all small businesses is still word of mouth. Despite all the talk of viral marketing and using technology to grow sales, nothing but nothing seems to beat good old fashioned word of mouth for gaining new business (obviously though, word of mouth can happen online too!).

One final thing that strikes me about this graph is how many links there are. Over 70% of the business I got in the last year originated through referrals from existing clients. Long may this continue! I’m really interested to see how this graph evolves over the next 12 months. Where will my next big chunk of business come from? Will it be from a referral? Or possibly some web traffic? Who knows, maybe even from this blog!


3 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. Donal says:

    48% wow, that’s fantastic! Delighted to see those contacts developed into such thriving business relationships.

    From the other side of the referral relationship it’s a great reassurance to refer business with people whom you trust and know will provide an excellent service. That’s one of the reasons joining has been such a positive step for our business.

    I’m curious to perform a similar analysis on Damson’s business for 2008 now too.

    Jan 21, 2009
  2. Iarfhlaith says:

    Yep. It really does seem to be true. More business leads to more business! It’s been a kind of self perpetuating chain. With each new contact made I increase the quality of my clients.

    This is how I went from doing work for my neighbours, friends and family, to working with government agencies and large multi-national corporations. All through simple word of mouth references from people who trust each other.

    Jan 21, 2009

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