In November 2017, after taking a long hiatus from business networking, I joined a local business networking group. I’m glad I did! For me, the benefits of this group go beyond attracting new clients to my business. Participation also gives me a network of trusted people that I can call upon for my own needs and/or refer clients to, and a boost of positive energy to start my week.
|HOW TO GET STARTED WITH BUSINESS NETWORKING
Attending business networking events can be a great way to market your business. The first step is to find the right networking groups for you. Here are some things to consider:
- Who do you want to meet? You may want to target potential clients and the people who typically influence their buying decisions, potential strategic partners and other possible referral sources. Where are you most likely to find these people?
- What types of events do you want to attend? Options run the gamut from informal “mixers” to more formal meetings with agendas and time schedules. Try some of each and see which you prefer.
- What time of day are you available to attend events? In my area most meetings are held either early in the morning, during the lunch hour or after work. If you need to drop your kids off at school in the morning, the 7:00 am breakfast meetings probably won’t work for you.
- Can you absolutely commit to attending every week? Some groups have strict attendance requirements, others have none.
- How do you feel about competition? Some networking groups are category-exclusive, meaning each chapter will only admit one realtor, one website developer, one insurance sales person, etc. Others do not have any restrictions at all.
- How much time do you want to devote to business networking? A common recommendation is to join a few groups, including one category-exclusive group, a trade group and the local Chamber of Commerce. Be aware, though, that participating in multiple groups requires a significant time commitment.
Once you’ve answered these questions, pick a few groups that look promising, and check them out. When you go, pay close attention to who else is in the room, the mood/atmosphere, how the meetings are conducted and how cliquish the group is. Can you picture yourself attending this meeting regularly?
CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: HONEDIN
One of the many connections that I made last year through business networking is with Adzzle Creative Marketing, a small marketing agency that provides a full range of services for integrated marketing and advertising. Adzzle brought me in as the writer on one of their accounts: HonedIn.
HonedIn is a unique private executive administration firm that handles financial, administrative and other personal business tasks for busy professionals, retired people and more. To learn more about HonedIn, check out the website and flier that I helped Adzzle create for them.