If you are a small business owner, a solopreneur or in sales, marketing is an imperative part of what you do. How do you get your name and your business ‘out there?’ One of the best ways to spread the word about what you offer is to be a member of one (or a few) local networking groups. Here are a few examples of groups you could join, along with short descriptions from their websites:
- Business Networking International (BNI) – “By joining BNI, you’ll increase your exposure to like-minded professionals, gain referrals from a global network and sharpen your networking skills with exclusive member resources.”
- Boston Business Women – “Boston Business Women aims to provide women with a platform to build connections, support personal and professional growth, and gain the tools and resources needed to succeed in both business and life.”
- Rotary International – “The collective leadership and expertise of our 1.2 million members helps us tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, locally and globally. We are united by common values and vision for the future as we sharpen our focus with targeted specific causes that will reach communities most in need.”
- Kiwanis International – “We are passionate about making a difference. Helping kids grow and succeed is at the heart of everything we do. We believe our neighborhoods and our world are best served when people of all ages and different backgrounds work together to share their time and talents.”
- Infinite Business Networking – “The mission of Infinite Business Networking is to help grow and nurture each other’s business through word-of-mouth referrals and professional development.”
Here’s one tip, though: if you are interested in joining one of these groups, make sure that you have enough time to dedicate to your membership. Just having the card isn’t enough – you need to be an engaged participant in meetings and activities in order to get the most of the experience. You also need to have a pretty good description of what you do, who your best customer is, and for best results, attend each meeting with a “story” or “drop” some knowledge on the others in the group.
In addition, when joining these types of organizations, it’s important to realize that the relationships that you build and the referral system in place are both two-way streets. It’s not enough nowadays to just give someone your business card. You need to build a relationship. And if you want to gain referrals, you have to expect to give referrals and don’t forget to follow up, follow up, follow up with everyone that you meet!
If you need some advice and guidance on joining a business group or just how to be a better networker, I am available to help.
And if anyone you know is ever in need of a great Boston insurance agent, please tell them to contact us at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. We appreciate your referrals!