If you want to raise the profile of your retail business you can get involved in local business networking. Getting to know your peers, competitors, potential suppliers or partners, politicians and media personalities can open new avenues for your business. It’s also a good idea to get to know key influencers in your local area.
Although you may have direct competitors in your local area, it's likely that you are both facing common issues and problems. Working together to improve the area where your retail business is located can benefit everyone. Industry bodies offer networking, publicity and lobbying opportunities - eg the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association and the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland.
Local business support organisations and councils have a range of events and support schemes which could benefit your retail business. Regular events like business breakfasts, networking evenings, 'Meet the buyer' events and more give your business and brand an excellent platform. Find local networking opportunities:
- find your local council in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland enterprise agencies
- chambers of commerce in Northern Ireland
Business networking on the internet is becoming an important tool for retail brand recognition and promotion. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a great way to reach customers, but also to grow your reputation and profile within business circles. See social media best practice for business.
Corporate social responsibility
You can raise the profile of your business while giving back to the community through corporate social responsibility. Business in the Community is one example of a local organisation which can help your business to work with groups in Northern Ireland. See corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Be on the lookout for sponsorship opportunities, or consider partnering with a local charity. See marketing options for retail businesses.