“How is your business going, Dania?” I asked standing in fronting of her small fritura.
“Things are a little slow right now. “ she replied, “I just wish I had opportunities to sell to more people.”
This was not the first time I had heard an associate utter those very words. Most of the MF associates live and work in small communities with a limited market. In fact, limited and saturated markets are some of the greatest challenges that face many of the small business owners at the MF site. With only 200 potential clients, it is hard to realistically expect substantial growth from a business. In essence, our associates work hard but often lack the resources and opportunities to network themselves well with clients or other business in order to expand their business.
While there are no easy answers to these problems, the MF site has been hard at work trying to build connections and market opportunities for our associates. Recently, Miriam connected with a small startup company that sells framed cross-stitch. Knowing that one of our associates, Rossi, already was selling cross-stitch from her house, Miriam connected Rossi and several other associates with this new company. Now Rossi is receiving orders on a regular basis and has more consistent work which allows her to be at home with her family. With the help of a single business relationship, Rossi quickly expanded her market from several hundred clients to thousands of clients.
While the example above may be small, we believe that networks are one of the most powerful business tools and hope that we can continue to use our own networks as well as those of our supporters to benefit associates in the future.
Pray that God would give Miriam and I the creativity to effectively connect and network our associates with viable and sustainable business opportunities.