Start (or Join) A Business Networking Group
Posted on 10 March 2010
Hey! I mean YOU!
It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO or an hourly employee. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing freelance work, a small business, or if you’re one of a thousand “worker bees” in a Fortune 100 company. Join or start a group of like-minded people and meet at least once a month. Once every other week if it’s possible.
Here’s who you need to look for:
-Men and women in similar positions to you
-People with similar goals
-People who are mostly in different professions than you
The goal is to develop a smallish group, generally no more than ten people, who will help you work through your own goals and be a sounding board for your professional/business ideas and goals.
Where do you find these people?
Maybe you can start by approaching the local chamber of commerce to see if they have any such groups, or consider people who attend your church. Another place to look is a Rotary, Kiwanis, or other local service club. Keep in mind, joining a service club has it’s own requirements and you should be committed to the club’s goals and programs. Joining just to poach members for your own purpose is dishonest. You should no more join Rotary to create your personal business club, than you should join a church to create one. You had better believe in the mission and faith of the church first. Really, the chamber of commerce is the only place you could/should join specifically to meet other business people.
What good will meeting with these other professionals do for you?
Well, it will give you a different perspective from people who don’t have the limited beliefs that come from your specific company or your field. If you’re a photographer and someone in your group is a restaurant owner, I assure you that you can help them market their dining experience in the same way they might help you market your photography… differently. That’s the goal. Get together regularly over lunch. After your initial introductions to get the group moving, schedule “sharing” time for two or three people to share their challenges or questions and then ask the group to offer suggestions.
Why not just look for business ideas or groups on the web?
Because it takes too little commitment and because there’s something special about in-person communication. You’ll get things from that kind of interaction that the web just can’t provide.
You may never get any great revelations. You might just enjoy lunch with a bunch of nice folks. Then again, maybe you will get the breakthrough idea and it could change your whole world!