Do you belong to any entrepreneurial networking groups?
I just launched my new business focused around running corporate events. I love my job, but I don't have as much familial support because my schedule is pretty demanding right now. I want to join an entrepreneurial group to meet some people in the same position as me and get some guidance. Do you think entrepreneurial networking groups can grow your biz or are a waste of time? Any ideas on which ones to join?
Thanks for the advice!
If you want a group to help you grow your business, you want to join a networking group. I belong to numerous networking groups, plus my local Chamber of Commerce, and I find them all quite valuable. One good resource to try is Meetup.com, where you can find groups related to any interest you can think of, including entrepreneurial and small business. What you want is a group that blocks two members from the same trade. A lot of what you'll get from these groups, besides advice, is networking, and that is critical to a small business. You will turn all the other members of that group into your sales people. Never underestimate the power of people who know people.
Hope this has provoked some thought.
I really empathize with your lack of familial support but many times family members are not as fired up as we are or are just not capable of giving the type of support we need.
I started a network recently that has provided me much of that support. Over the years, I had kept in contact with the people that seemed to have similar views on getting work done and professionalism in general. These people also had different (complementary) skill sets but all appreciated what the other did.
I invite these people out once a month or so and they make time because they find it useful as well. Not all are entrepreneurs, some are contacts from companies that I have dealt with but they have challenges as well that can be addressed in the group. They also make me laugh which is also very important.
One of the most important things I do to keep the group going is to capture ideas in a quick summary. This provides a record, brainstorming ideas, of what people said that they would enjoy doing as well as providing a progress report and foundation for the next meeting.
It takes me about an hour or so to get all the points down in a summary and get email confirmation on the points covered but it is worth it. I always come away from these sessions with a renewed sense of focus.
I know you are proud of what you provide and the way you provide it and this should be the foundation of your group. Go ahead, pick from some of the great ideas already posted or contact people you admire who may be caterers, accountants or tradespeople, tell them what you are thinking and invite them out for coffee.
If you can commit to being the scribe who captures any worthwhile ideas, it will also serve you well.
Have fun with this! Make it your own.
I'm not very active in this group yet...I'm a travel agent, really wanting to grow my business.. I'm disabled, so joining free networking groups online is the way I want to go.. Any thoughts?
Networking can be productive but time consuming. Consider strategic partnerships to get introduced to people you really want to meet and do the networking virtually. I like www.connequity.com. They find matches for your ideal client and professionals already calling on them
Meeting Planners International would be a great organization for you to join and they have a number of chapters: http://www.mpiweb.org/. I've also looked into local Meet-up groups in my area that are geared towards entrepreneurs. Hope that helps and best of luck!
Not sure where you are located, however, PowerCore is the most fruitful closed -ended networking group I have experienced.
It really depends on the kind of help you're looking for. A lot of entrepreneurs are working on technology-focused businesses and can be a good source of technical advice. You're not likely to make clients out of them for your corporate events business, but you might get referrals - you can't have too many friends.
I've found the Business Networking International (BNI) very helpful for my networking.
I have joined many and it is like going to church seeking salvation. You meet, socialize share each other's business opportunity and hope someone is interested in adding additional income to their financial portfolio, with your business. Most of the time. it is if you scratch my back.I'll scratch yours, which are pretty much empty promises.