It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living. Bob Burg
The topic of networking is always an interesting one..
There are many people out there who still haven’t tried or found the group for them.
And even more amazingly, there are plenty of people who have never attended a networking group at all.
People seem to have preconceived ideas of what happens in a networking group.
They are definitely not all the same!
As someone who has attended many different networking groups for 16 years, I can honestly say that lots groups are very different from each other.
Groups? (I hear you ask) yes there are many groups:
- Business Women’s networking groups,
- Chambers of Commerce,
- Business Enterprise Centres,
- BNI’s ( Business Networking International),
- BRG’s (Business Referral Groups)
- SWAP (Salespeople With A Purpose),
- Mastermind groups the list goes on……
I remember when Inspiring Women was about to start on the Northern Beaches of Sydney many year ago. I had women phoning me asking if they would have to set goals, their husbands had told them it would be a gossiping group, that there was something bizarre about business women networking – the reasons were fascinating!
And when they then decided to go, they came up and said it was nothing like they thought it would be- hard nosed businesswomen all making business deals then and there on the spot!
Where did that come from?
Each group is there for a specific reason or demographic. (Though sometimes they forget that)
There are groups for local small business, groups for professional business people, groups for referrals, groups for corporates, groups for ideas, groups for support the list goes on.
It’s good to belong to at least 2 groups, especially when you are starting out….
- is for where your target market is (ie.your customers- if you are a business to business service/item)
- the other is for you the business owner, where you can relax amongst like-minded people and get your business “back into perspective”.
Back into Perspective??
Many people who work long and hard in their business and don’t get out much tend to lose perspective in what is actually happening in the business world. They don’t know what others have been trying sucessfully or unsuccessfully or that there is a new trend emerging.
I have spoken to business owners who have been unaware of the GFC, change in customer buying trends, people who have phoned just to ask “am I the only one going through this?” If they came out and met others, they would know.
Yes, it can be nerve wracking especially if you are a first timer,walking into a room full of people you don’t know. But if you smile and put out your hand, no one knows you are feeling nervous except you!
And, if you are new, there should be someone in the existing group looking out to make sure you aren’t left alone and that you are introduced around.
Remember – EVERY person in that room was a newbie once themselves!
Networking is a tax deduction as it is a Marketing expense- remember Marketing???
A fabulous speaker recently reminded a group of business owners that networking was one of the many aspects of marketing…something business owners tend to forget.
Meeting other business owners they can strike up strategic sales alliances between them, especially if they both offer services and goods to the same target market and something you do when you have created a relationship with another business owner.
So get out there – meet some new people, get out of your comfort zone just for an hour or two and start meeting people- who are just like you!