Whether you’re launching a new business or have a well established brand, by far the cheapest way to market is networking. Networking is an absolutely amazing way to grow your presence in your community and connect with other wonderful organizations that can help you grow. One of the hardest parts of networking is knowing where to start!
In the world of networking there are a few main types of networking groups and it’s vital to understand the roles of each, how to connect with them, and know what ones to avoid. Below is just a summary of the major types of networking groups and what they provide:
- Chambers of commerce – A wonderful place to start growing your business is your local chamber of commerce! It’s important to realize the vast majority of chambers of commerce do not require your company to be in the city of that chamber of commerce, just the general region. This means your business can be represented in numerous chambers of commerce in your area and not just the one of the city you’re based out of. They rarely provide leads directly but they are the best jumping off point when you’re first starting out and don’t know what your area offers.
- Leads groups – A leads group is far more focused on doing exactly what the name suggests, providing leads. In a leads group you will find other businesses dedicated to referring businesses to each other and growing each other. These groups are often industry exclusive and make sure only one business of each type is represented in each group. While these groups are extremely powerful they come at a cost. Often these groups have a recurring annual fees which can range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars a year. Additionally they may require you limit your activity to only their group and will expel you if you try to visit another industry exclusive group, this is a somewhat common restriction in groups such as BNI and Team Referral Network but can be easily avoided with groups like Master Networks and many local networking groups. Groups which do not restrict your activity to only their organization can allow for more opportunity for growth, especially if your business’s industry is uncommon and unlikely to be represented in most groups.
- Networking Events – These are absolutely wonderful and range from things as simple as a business happy hour to large organized events such as Colorado’s Tabletop Networking Which provides businesses with a “speed dating” like experience allowing one business owner to connect with dozens of other businesses in one single event without a recurring membership fee. This is easily one of the most important styles of networking for anyone to attend who needs to have a large network of other business owners.
Ideally networking will grow your business to the point that you no longer have time to go to every event yourself, and that’s where we come in! Combining networking with digital marketing will give you unparalleled reach in your area. If you have questions about growing your business our team is always here to help! Give us a call!