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Online networking works for small businesses

Self-employed should consider online opportunities


<b>Social networking sites offer the self-employed workers great business opportunities says Which?</b>

Social networking sites are a great way for the self-employed to get contacts and win new business, says Which?

Despite many work places banning the use of sites such as Facebook and MySpace, online networking is often a cheaper and quicker way to interact with other businesses and customers.

Sites such as www.linkedin.com and www.konnects.com offer online networking specifically for the professional and commercial sectors and can sometimes be more effective than traditional methods of networking such as trade shows, business clubs and breakfast meetings.

There are also a number of useful online business clubs and forums including www.businessclub365.com and www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk.

Business opportunities

Social networking allows users to talk directly to new contacts and send people straight to their website. On some sites it is even possible to make money through selling subscriptions to their networks.

Mike Pywell, author of Working for Yourself, said: ‘Networking is vital for small businesses to thrive, so self-employed people should definitely take advantage of the popularity of these sites.

‘If you run a specialist business of some type, it’s well worth the time to set up and maintain a network on one of these sites.’

Working for Yourself, a Which? essential guide, points out the benefits and pitfalls of being self-employed and details financial and legal information, as well as when and where to seek professional help.

It can be ordered on 01902 828557 (£10.999, p&p free), online or bought at bookshops.

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