A consideration of starting your own business is joining a networking group of like-minded individuals and whilst you can promote your business online and through social media there really is no replacement for face to face conversations and meetings with people who can really help your business by either becoming your clients or your advocate.
When Admin Inc. started, one of the items on the to do list was finding a group that (a) was reputable, (b) has more than one branch and (c) was cost effective. Of course there is so much more to consider and you could spend an age researching so many different groups. The best thing to do is to narrow your search by the ones in your local area, registering your interest and taking advantage of the 2 or 3 ‘try before you join’ meetings before committing yourself to membership. Make sure that the meetings you sign up for are at a time that works for you, the last thing you’ll want to do is to attend the try meetings, sign up and then realise that you’re unable to commit to the fortnightly/monthly meetings because the time doesn’t work for you. This isn’t the impression you want to make on other members who could really help benefit your business. Keep yourself organised and put the dates in your diary and attend as many as possible – your presence can really lay the foundations of making great contacts and friends!
I try not to miss a networking meeting (although sometimes, things crop up and inevitably you won’t be able to make it, in that case, keep in touch with the contacts you’ve made and book yourself in to the next one). Networking not only helped me establish roots in the groups that I attend but I’ve made some great friends and clients and when you work on your own, it’s nice to get out and talk to people once in a while!
Growing your business by networking
Connecting your business through networking is invaluable not only for development but also gaining an insight into what’s happening around you and how other sectors (and ones similar to you) are doing in the market place. You’re never alone when you belong to a group of like-minded people and you never know, there may be someone who is facing a similar situation to yours.
You’ll find that your group has a mix of new and seasoned members so you’ll get a wide range of advice and ideas which can help your business.
Grow your confidence and your client list!
When you become a regular networker, not only will it help your personal development but also your client list. As a new business owner, you’ll no doubt feel nervous and perhaps intimated by those in the room who quite easily fall into conversation with others. Don’t worry, everyone in that room has been in the same situation you find yourself in now. If there’s a cluster of people talking, just ask to join in, no one will refuse and you’ll fit straight into the conversation. Take an interest in others and they’ll take an interest in you and what you do. You’ll find the conversation with take-off from there quite naturally and once your group gets to know you and what your business offers, you’ll find that they or someone they know really could use your expertise to help their business and vice versa, you never know whose help you need!
Get your brand out there!
You’ll find in no time that your brand is gaining some traction. Not only are you promoting it on social media but also through the physical presence of networking. If you’re a service provider like me, you’ll find that most your clients prefer to meet you in person. For me, meeting someone is a great way to get to know them outside of networking, it helps build trust and instils confidence in you and your brand and it helps you to get to know them and how you can help.
There are so many great reasons to be part of a networking group and researching one that works for you is key, take advantage of visits before you consider membership, remember you need to feel confident that you’ll be able to promote your business to an engaged audience who in turn may become your clients!
You can also search Find Networking Events for meetings near you and if you know someone who is part of a group, why not ask to be invited?
Got a question? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!