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It can be easy for business owners to live in a vacuum not having much contact with the outside world, so finding a way to get out of your comfort zone will be good for you and your business.
The perfect solution to give your business a boost is to get out and do to some social activities in addition to business events. There are numerous organizations, clubs, and groups that you can join and network with that will assist with your offline marketing…and be fun!
Going to targeted business networking events is a great idea, but sometimes it’s also a good idea to build a broader community. You can also get out and ENJOY meeting people.
You can also check out these groups ONLINE both before & after meeting people in real life. It’s an easy way to start to widen your circle of friends and business contacts.
One of my favorite websites is Meetup.com, which allows anyone to create a group that is a special interest (both professional and social) that then meets in real life. The site is a great way to find like-minded people. I’ve met tons of friends, business contacts and even my husband thanks to Meetup. I was mingling with the right people thanks to events that Group Organizers planned.
You can also become an organizer or co-organizer. This is a more advanced way to network.
Whatever you decide, be sure to fill out the profile with your full contact info just like you would on Facebook. Then start going to events! Have fun and meet people!
Yes, most people network with their congregations. They buy from each other, and patronize their congregants businesses and refer each other. This is perfectly acceptable to do and will in fact make you feel more a part of your community. Look for opportunities to promote your business within a newsletter. Once of my clients say it’s the only paid ad she places and she regularly gets new business this way. It also has helped her to be involved in various social, outreach and prayer groups. This is also very inline with her business brand, so it’s a natural fit for her.
Of course you should get to know people with whom you are sweating every day! When you get to know people and make friends with them they will want to tell their friends about you, so don’t be shy, and tell people what you do. Ask them what they do first to break the ice. I have met multiple business contacts in the swimming pool! Now I just need to get waterproof business cards!
Most local areas have Parent Teacher Associations of some sort. If you are a parent, or a grandparent, you can join your local PTA. Once you join, get involved. Usually they will offer several sponsorship activities every year from an advertising spot in the yearbook, to the newsletter, to placards at an event. Even if you do not join, you can usually still sponsor events at your local schools.
Check out your Chamber of Commerce, women’s groups, and referral-based groups like BNI. You can also look for local special events, like networking happy hours or lunches. There’s a wide range of types of business events, both large and small. You can find groups that match your style. Check out some ideas in this blog post.
TAKE ACTION: Try these types of groups to start to expand your contacts. Before you know it you’ll feel more comfortable for more powerful networking such as joining and participating in your local chamber of commerce.
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