– Hi there.
This is part of a two or even three part blog about networking.
Today, we’re going to cover, why network?
But I’m looking for some suggestions and feedback for the next blog,to cover seven pitfalls and benefits of networking.
So let’s start off with, why network?
And we’re talking about business networks here.
In business, as in life,you’re always looking for opportunities to find mentors,new clients, and making connections.
Networking is a proven method of helping all these things,and is also great fun!
So I recently increased my networking opportunities,I’m talking about over the last 12 months,so it does take time,
and I’m finding great success in doing that.
And I regard it as an investment in my business and in myself.
So, what are the benefits and should I be doing it?
Well like most things,not every networking group is going to suit you, okay.
Some can cost up to $5000 a year, whereas others are free.
I’ve found some great clients through networking and made some awesome friends as well.
So I’m planning doing, like I said, benefits and pitfalls a little bit further on, so feedback is good.
Okay, should I pay?
Hmmm, right, there are lots of free networking opportunities out there.
But you know what? You don’t always have to pay, but you should.Because the organizers have to pay for room hire,
they normally have little nibblies and so forth, so you know what, you should actually be paying.
However, I have joined some free ones that have been very beneficial.
So how do you know which ones to join?
Join, attend a meeting, have a look, see if the people are the sort of people that you are comfortable with.
See if there’s a good client profile for you and then carry on from that.
So, what is the ROI?
Well, it depends. There are some networking groups such as Chambers of Commerce that I’m inI pay 200 dollars once a year
we meet at least monthly it gives me access to other Chambers of Commerce.
Definitely worth it.
Other groups are franchises, and you’ve got to pay franchise fee of about two grand,and then you’ve got other fees
so if you’re going to join those, great for smaller clients, great for accountants and solicitors and IT,
but for businesses that do marketing and advertising,just try and join groups that have clients that are a bit bigger
than just tiny little sole operators.
Okay, so an ROI formula if you pay $2k for membership,and 35 dollars a week for breakfast or lunch or dinner,
and you turn up for three hours, remember your time, you need to calculate,so even at $150 an hour, that’s $300 dollars.
They can cost you four or five grand a year. So will you be sure you’ll get a return of about 10 to 12 thousand dollars,
that’s how you look at the ROI.
So always calculate it that way.
So which one should you join?
Try a meeting and find out, that’s the easiest way to find out what’s going to work for you.
Local networking groups tend to want to work with local businesses.
That can be very beneficial for you.So look at some local ones. They tend to refer local businesses as well,
and referrals is what you are looking for.
Networking is about finding friends, yes,but it’s mostly about finding referrals,and they are a rich seam of referral gold.
So, dig in to networks in order to get those referrals.
And if you’re not networking and digging, why not?
Also, look at your industries. There are industry networks out there, industry groups.
Join some of those, so that way you see what competitors are up to.
Look at market trends,see what’s happening in technology and for forth.
Well worth attending those And also, you may do something that others aren’t doing
within your industry, and that can help you as well.
And then of course,there’s the social aspect.
Lots of businesses these days start working from home I certainly did. And I realized early,
that most of my networking and socializing during the day was through the work environment.
Remove that, and you get less social. So, come up with something each day,and networking is certainly part of that.
So it can help you with your social life and just mixing with other people. Mixing with other businesses.
Remember they, a lot of them,started the same way that you did.