More new business is generated by networking than by any other marketing activity. Marketing analysis shows 70 percent of new business is gained through referrals or relationship marketing.

How well do you know your customers? Does your database list their likes and dislikes? Getting customers to provide information on what they dislike about your business practices is more valuable than hearing them tell you they like the way you provide goods or service.

Make a list of your best customers – the people who are your best supporters, the people who give referrals. Do something to reward them. They should be at the top of your customer priority list.

The bottom of the list is for the clients to avoid: negative people who consume time and are just tire kickers.

The customers in between are the ones who add business. These are the one-time customers that you need to get to know more about their passions.

Business owners and managers spend months chasing new customers. When they land them, they have no process in place to make sure they serve client needs and communicate key information.

The client comes to you for one product or service. You need to educate your client. Here is where you use your website to promote your business.

Too many business owners believe they can put up a website, sit back and wait for the business to roll in. That is not the case.

Create informational pages of all kinds that help draw traffic to your website. Enhance your website content to take advantage of add-on technologies and resources.

Blog software allows you to update and add content easily. Topic blog for some important aspect of your industry or specialty to develop a following that cares about content.

Search engines give your website a professional image. If you are doing business locally you need to make sure that each of the major local search engines – Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and – has your business listed.

Each engine has a unique process for registering. Be sure your local address and phone number appear early and prominently in the search results. Make sure your email address uses the same print font size as your telephone.

Lowcountry SCORE Chapter 650, Counselors to America’s Small Business, is preparing a series of workshops on business networking. SCORE Counselors provide free confidential counseling.

In Beaufort County call 843-785-7107. In Jasper County call 843-726-8126. Contact by email or visit

R. J. Le Tourneau is a counselor with Lowcountry SCORE.