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Ep36 Transcript: How to Find Good Networking Events for Business Owners – Quick Fix Friday
Andrea Vahl: Networking events can be a powerful way to grow your business. In episode 34, I talked to Barbara Brooks who started Second Act Women, a group of women who are lifting each other up and helping each other in a community. But how do you find the right networking event or community? Stay tuned in this episode of Quick Fix Friday as I give some tips.
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Andrea Vahl: Going to live events was the initial way I grew my business when I first started out. I found some great groups to connect in and network in, and I was able to sell my services of social media marketing to the people in that group.
Another thing that communities and groups can help with is lifting each other up because let’s face it, being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business.
I’m so lonely. I’m so lonely.
As they say, if you want to go farther, go together. If you want to go faster, go alone. But I still think together is better. Here are some things that you want to think about as you are looking for and choosing a group to participate in.
The first thing you want to think about is your group local or is it online? And sometimes it’s a hybrid of both. Especially I’ve seen since Covid. There’s a lot of groups that are doing a mix of both, where you can meet from the comfort of your own home, but then also get out and network in person. Cuz I think that’s a powerful way to connect.
Another thing you want to consider is your group paid or is it free? There are lots of free networking groups or leads groups perhaps, but I think some of the paid ones can offer a little bit more value. Sometimes they have a little bit more structure, they might have a little bit more organization around them, and they have a budget to maybe have a little infrastructure for connecting people in a different way.
Your local chamber could have some great free networking groups, but you may have to join the chamber in order to attend those events for free. Or sometimes they offer just a minimal charge to attend.
The next thing you want to consider is the structure and organization of the group. Does the group require you to pass leads? That can be a good and a bad thing because you have to then come up with some leads for the members each week, but it also can mean that you are going to get more business from those groups. Examples of that type of group are BNI groups that allow just one type of business in each group and then also require you to pass leads and there’s more information about those structures on their website.
Another thing you want to consider is do they require attendance. Some groups do require that you attend a minimum number of sessions, and I think that can be a great idea as well, so that you are committed to showing up each week, you’re going to get more business from a group where you are more present.
You also might want to consider what kind of rules they have about promotion in the group. There are some free groups on Facebook that have networking, but only allow you to post one promotional link a month, for example, or only promotions on Wednesday, for example. So you want to make sure you understand those rules before deciding whether or not you’re going to join.
And you also might want to find out how many people are in the group. If you had a smaller group, that can be beneficial. A larger group can obviously provide more exposure, but it might also mean that your voice gets a little bit lost in the shuffle.
So where do you find some of these groups? Meetup can be a great place to start. They have a lot of groups there that are local to your area. You might even check Facebook out. Find out if people in your network are already attending some networking groups and can recommend them as a good group. Eventbrite has information about networking groups in your area. If you’re looking at more virtual, then your group can be anywhere in the world, and you might want to consider what types of people are in that group and find out if they’ve gotten benefits out of being in that virtual group.
Another tip is to not spread yourself too thin, because if you join lots and lots of groups and aren’t present in those groups, you’re not going to get the value. And make sure that you are getting some actual benefits out of attending the group for your business. I remember I went to a great networking group, loved all the people in there, but never actually got any business from them. So it was just more like a social hour for a year, and then I decided, hey, I better go and attend one that is actually growing my business.
So if you are finding that you’re not getting value out of a group, it’s okay to leave and go somewhere else. But like I said, I think the biggest value you can get is show up and participate in that group to get that value out of it.
Hope that was helpful, and make sure you grab the free guide. Top Tools for Late Starters on the website at latestartersclub.com and let’s turn dreaming into doing.
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