When you run a lemonade stand, you usually end up meeting quite a few people. In business terms, these people are known as “contacts.” The goal is to stay connected with them, as you never know how you could benefit from one another in the future.

Once you collect business cards from your contacts or track down their information electronically, you can then network and develop an ongoing relationship with them, which ultimately benefits your business. Here are a few ways you can keep in touch with the people you meet in a professional capacity.

Communicate on LinkedIn. Send an invitation to connect, and once they accept, thank them for the connection via private message. Remind them of how you met and let them know you’d like to stay in touch. You can also write updates and blogs on the site to establish yourself as an expert and to keep your business on your contacts’ radar.

Send periodic emails or newsletters. If you have your contacts’ email addresses, consider sending out a monthly newsletter containing information that may be useful to them. Remember to include an “unsubscribe” option at the bottom so you avoid spam violations.

Ask them to spread the word next year. If your goal is to gain more traffic for next year’s Lemonade Day, start reaching out to your contacts a month before the big day. Ask them to share your information with friends and contacts, including the time, date and location of your stand. Ask them to touch on how good their experience was with you.

Find out what you can do for them. You don’t want to do all the taking, so be sure to give back to your contacts. Think about what you can offer, and offer it. If you’re willing to teach others how to run a lemonade stand, let your contacts know. If you’re interested in volunteering, give your network the chance to take advantage of your volunteer efforts.

Expand your business offerings. Consider mowing lawns, cleaning houses, cooking, creating art or any other task enabling you to grow your experience and earn money. This will not only increase your bank account, but it will demonstrate that you enjoy working and have a strong work ethic.

Write down a few ways you can connect to your customers, and take notes on the ideas above. Develop a communication plan, and get started soon!

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