If you've been working hard, trying to make contacts, networking like there is no tomorrow and expect that others are going to care as much as you do about building your success, stop now...NO ONE cares as much as you and probably no one is thinking about you or your business like you are.
I've joined a networking group and have met some great people who have very successful businesses. They're established and doing well, even in these economic times. One in particular has more business than expected in a time that is usually quiet. She is a wonderful individual who has built a very successful business. But she cares the most about it's success. Another man has the same thing going for himself. He's a wonderful person who has worked hard to build a successful business. Like the other, he values his customers and employees and both know it but no one cares as much as he does about the success of his business.
Networking is an art and process that almost takes on a life of it's own. In some respects it's another 'job' that people do in order to get customers. It's really about building relationships that may, over time, MAY result in a business connection but it's not necessarily the way you're going to build you business base.
In my recent experience I've not gotten any referrals but I've met many wonderful and qualified professionals. This is always a good thing but on a few things that I've asked for help on, the responses didn't come. How many times do you follow up and remind people before it becomes a futile attempt? This is what I mean about 'No one cares as much as you do.'
People are well intentioned but busy. Everyone is trying to focus their energy on keeping the business they have and building from that so they are not thinking outside their box - they are focused in their box so they can sustain themselves through these rough times. However I do get disappointed and you will too but you can't let these experiences shade or taint your own optimism about what it is you want to accomplish. In fact, I'm believing that it may be a sign that the 'fit' just isn't right for getting the business that I want.
Those of us in service businesses are competing against equally qualified people who (also like us) are trying to make ends meet. It is your job to distinguish yourself from the others and set out to sell that which is unique about you to your potential clients. For me, although I do bookkeeping, it actually is a small part of the overall services I provide for my clients and that part is what I need to get better at when I'm talking about what I do.
Remember that no one cares as much as you do about your success ... so, start each day with that idea and work towards developing the personal strength to make your business happen!