Many small business owners have heard of local networking meetings but aren’t sure where to find them or how they might help them grow their businesses. You might be convinced of the benefits of marketing your small business but you may not know where to start. If it seems like an impossible task to find places to market your business—read on! There are plenty of resources you can tap in the form of local networking groups. These various groups will allow you to grow your business, get referrals and make money.
Business Networking International (BNI) is one of the largest groups created specifically to help members increase their business through networking. Not only can you get referrals for your business, but you can gain networking knowledge, be a part of business trade shows, and periodically free workshops on networking. You’ll also receive newsletters that provide valuable networking education. Joining a chapter means that you’ll be the only business that provides that service or product, so you’ll have exclusivity within the chapter. To find out more information, search their website to find a chapter near you.
Have you heard of Mastermind Groups? Mastermind groups offer a place to brainstorm, get peer support, education, and ultimately achieve success. By collaborating with others, you will be able to cross-promote your business and extend your network. Do you feel like you are all alone in your business? Joining a mastermind group can help you get rid of that feeling because you will be working with others that can advise you and vice versa. There are quite a few places to find mastermind groups, including Meetup.com, Craigslist.org, Plant Dreams and MasterMind Finder. Mastermind groups can be conducted in person or online. If you can’t find one geared towards your needs, you can start your own group. For more information, check out this post from the Smart Passive Income blog.
Are you a woman looking for a networking group that caters to you? Joining a group such as Women in Business Networking can help you as a woman tackle specific issues and challenges related to running and networking your business. Groups are area specific, so you will want to search for one in your area.
Local merchants associations are another great tool for networking your business. These are specific to your area and doing an online search will allow you to find one near you. These associations are non-profit groups that promote unity among business owners and help business owners pave their way to long-term success. Need help with a marketing campaign? Local merchant’s associations can also help you with multiparty marketing campaigns.
As I mentioned before, I’m a big believer in Meetup.com. Meetup is a great way to join groups in your area with a focus on small businesses. Go here and search for a group near you. Some Meetups require fees for joining their group or for specific functions. Each group has their own page with the information you need to join. Group activities include workshops in social media marketing, get advice from other business owners, and help avoid costly mistakes in your own business.
With all of these local networking groups available to you, from online mastermind and Meetup groups to merchant associations in you area, you’ve got tons of opportunities to join and grow your business. Visit several groups before joining and making that commitment to a particular group. Be sure to ask questions about how often they meet and any obligations required of you. Once you find one you that is convenient and interesting, make the commitment to join. Once you join, make the commitment to go regularly. Make joining a local networking group fun and profitable to you and your business.
If you’ve participated in a local networking group and would like to share your experience, comment below.