Tips to make it worthwhile for you
Networking, in my opinion, is essential to grow your business. In recent weeks I have spoken with a number of businesses who have always relied on referrals and repeat business and only now feeling the need to network. To either fill those troughs and even out the peaks or to grow their business in the current climate.
Many new businesses fear the prospect of networking because it is the unknown or because of a previous bad experience. When they speak to other businesses they then get a mixed reaction too. It could be a friends’ particular group is at the wrong hour, in the wrong place, has the wrong price tag or just sounds ‘too scary’.
There are many groups, organisations out there. At different times, locations, rules and members and it is up to you to visit them all (or as much as you can with the funds available) to get a real feel for the one that suits you and your business the best). But when you get there, there is so much to consider too; so here are a few considerations:
When Is the hour the same each time, does this fit in with your calendar, do you have someone to step in if needed, is there parking?
Members Who attends, are they your target market (or know your target market), do you like them (really important)?
Format Is there a format or just a free for all, is it very formal, does it suit you and your business, is there a support mechanism?
Opportunities Some groups have the opportunity to raise your profile (team member), chance to talk to all, do you pitch to a few or all in the room. Do they have mini-appointments in there to get to know individuals more?
ROI Can you track your Return On Investment. Is it more social than business?
Membership Monthly, yearly, stuck in for the time, offers, opportunities for free membership, joining fee, weekly fee?
Message Is your message clear, consistent and does it enable others to recommend you?
Get out there and try a few, use the opportunities to practice your message and get feedback from those that heard you – do they know what you do?
Ask others where they go, how they find it, what it’s like for their business – ask to go as a visitor and test it out.
Just get out there and shout from the roof tops what your business is about and how you help others. Keep clear on your target market and target your message to them.
Enjoy it – it is supposed to be fun although it is work and must be taken seriously so plan and record results to ensure it is effective and a good source of investment.
Let me know what groups you have found that tick all the boxes for you – or if you are still looking – ask me where I go.
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