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Choosing your business networking group

Choosing Your Business Networking Group

There are many business networking events on the market for you to join but if you were to join all of them you would end up parting with a serious amount of cash you probably never do anything else.

It is however just like any other business investment and you can mitigate the risk by weighing up your options carefully. In order to help you I have prepared some business networking advice for your convenience.

Ask yourself the following question; what am I trying to achieve through business networking? If you are struggling to answer the question then frankly you probably are going to end up wasting your money. But consider some of these potential answers: -

Find contacts with potential clients or with folks who share a similar customer base

To become more confident at presentation

Get advice or ideas from other business entrepreneurs

Develop you network of potential suppliers

Contribute to a network of like-minded individuals that mutually support each other.

My next business networking advice is to think about who you want to network with;

Are you looking for direct contact with your potential customers or maybe people who work with a similar customer base to yourself?

Would you prefer to mix with men and women what would a single sex group be more your cup of tea?

Do you need to concentrate on a particular industry sector such as telecoms or manufacturing?

Is the size of a relevant? Think about whether you prefer large groups or small groups when meeting new people.

Also don’t forget to think about the time of day when you want to network or indeed where you are available to network. Many networking groups operate first thing in the morning over breakfast so if you are not good in the morning then maybe consider a lunchtime event.

Remember, a business networking group is there to help you so before you part with your cash make sure that you Ask all the questions to establish that is the right group for you.

For example:-

Who else attends the group and will they be the right people for you to team up with?

What is the format of the meeting? Is there a structure or are you just left to your own devices to introduce yourself to people?

How often are the meetings? If they are every week then this might be too intense, yet a monthly meeting might be insufficient.

Are members obliged to pass Referrals at every meeting or is it a more relaxed affair? Beware of this point because some groups have very strict rules.

Will you have to attend every meeting? Some groups again a very strict about this, others more relaxed and there are advantages and the advantages to both formats so be careful to choose one which suits you best.

Finally, what is the policy about exclusivity to selected market sectors? Some groups will only allow one member from each market sector therefore creating sense of exclusivity and again this has its pros and cons. On the one hand, having exclusivity will breed a sense of loyalty between your group members, conversely if there’s more than one of you in a particular market sector then sometimes you can build on one another’s particular niche offerings.

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