It takes a group of business-oriented people to make networking a success. After all, the main goal is to gain necessary connections and to expand the business.
We have already talked about finding Networking events near you. Another way to develop critical business relationships and collaborations is to join a networking group. It is highly beneficial to any company, especially for a small business at the early stages of development.
Divide and conquer. This can be applicable to joining professional networking groups, mainly because there are so many kinds of them. Let’s take a closer look here.
LinkedIn and alternative sites (PartnerUp or Opportunity) are a good place to start. These online platforms prompt professional relationships and will allow you to have access to groups of like-minded people from all over the world. Within those groups, you can find break-out if the forms of WhatsApp or Meetup groups for faster communication. Network from your couch!
Facebook and other social media also have plenty of big and small networking groups for you to join. Advantage: more people use Facebook regularly. Disadvantage: you can’t be 100% sure about the quality of those groups.
Local networking groups.
Start with checking out your local Chamber of Commerce to see how involved they are in the community’s business scene. Typically, besides networking opportunities, they may offer mentoring or educational sessions with guest speakers. The level of involvement may vary from city to city, but at least you can get recommendations on other local opportunities in your area. Alumni Organizations is another great source of valuable contacts right within your community.
Entities like SCORE are worth looking into. They provide mentoring at no cost, that can be extremely beneficial for a new business startup. Don’t hesitate to join those, one day you will be able to give back by mentoring someone too.
Global business groups.
International networking groups are the best to join if your product is suitable for foreign markets. You immediately get wider exposure to partners and potential clients with the groups like Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
Business referral groups.
Business Networking International (BNI) is one of the world’s largest networking groups that set referral-sharing as the goal for all participants: for entrepreneurs, for business to business for small business, etc. They also host in-person meetings and events to help members mingle and exchange information. LeTip is another referral group. It is smaller than BNI but works on the similar principle. With companies of big range expect to pay annual or monthly dues that may run anywhere between $35 per month and a few thousand a year.
Narrow niche groups.
There are groups that focus on particular niche. For example, Rotary Club International and Kiwanis are dedicated to service organizations. American Marketing Association helps companies in the marketing field. You can always find the group that fits your industry.
Create your own networking group!
Networking apps like 100AM are equipped with a Community tool that helps you keep all the group members connected and even updates their contact information automatically. Give it a try.
You shouldn’t be involved in Networking just because someone said it will be good for your business. You should always put your business goals first and act according to them. There are different networking groups to join that if you chose all of them you will not have time for anything else. Hence, narrow the list down to three-four groups that fit your needs, your niche, your budget and ensure you invest a significant amount of effort into at least one.