The size of the group should not be the determinant.
You should look for people in related industries with related goals. Before you decide to attend an event that offers networking opportunities you should define your objectives and establish a strategic plan for the event.
How do you select the right options to increase our customer base?
How can you make the networking effective for the growth of your business?
You must be discerning and decide what events will provide the best opportunities.
Try before you buy. Attend as a guest before you join a trade organization or a chamber of commerce.
Some groups are more welcoming to new members. Sometimes the scheduled meeting times or locations are not convenient. Select your events with an awareness of your time commitment and potential value to the growth of your business.
Many small businesses spend a large portion of their marketing budget on an online marketing campaign but they often overlook the importance of a marketing campaign directed towards face to face meetings with new business prospects.
After you determine which events will provide the best results, make certain the person representing the company at the events is qualified and prepared.
Preparation is not costly, but the results may be invaluable.
Networking is also a branding opportunity, but it can be much more if you prepare for it. Here are some tools to consider for network marketing.
In part two we'll cover the elevator pitch, creative business cards, listening and learning and a next steps takeaway.
About the author
Marjorie Weber has been educating entrepreneurs and guiding them in their search for capital for the past 16 years: combining business training programs with one-on-one mentoring. Marj is currently a financial advisor for Florida SBDC at FIU. She was Chair of SCORE Miami Dade from 2010 to 2014. She also serves as an advisor to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and the SBA Emerging Leaders Program and provides training for Veterans seeking an entrepreneurial path upon retirement from the service. She has been facilitating workshops under the auspices of Miami Bayside Foundation for the past 3 years. She commenced her career as a real estate investment banker in New York and Miami.She uses these long term relationships to assist her clients in accessing capital. She knows both the process and the people and has assisted in providing financing for hundreds of businesses in Miami Dade.