There’s no doubt about it, building your personal profile in your local networking groups is one sure way to progressively grow your business profile, and in turn, your business as a whole.

Putting yourself in front of the right people over and over means that you are top of mind when someone needs the kind of product or service you provide. There are, however, scores of networking groups to choose from, so read on to make sure you’re getting the most from your local groups.

Choose your networks

Do your research on the local groups in your area. Whether you want to join a local Chamber of Commerce, a women’s business group, or something specific to your industry, understand the reason why you’re joining. 

Ask yourself questions like; 

  • Is this where my customers are? 
  • Do these business owners have access to my customers?
  • How can these connections and my business mutually benefit one another? 

Be careful not to commit to too many groups, or particularly those groups who may be created to benefit just the host business.  

Plan and Execute

Planning what you’re going to do at networking events is crucial, particularly if you’re an introvert. Set yourself a KPI of meeting 5 new people and getting their business cards. 

Plan interesting questions to ask attendees which will generate thoughtful answers, such as:

  • What is the biggest challenge you face in your business right now?
  • Why did you decide to start your own business? 
  • What’s the next goal you’re trying to hit in your business?

The day after the meeting, make contact with your new connections by email or social media to reinforce the relationship and remind them about you. 

Be consistent

Networking is a long game, but a powerful one. Over time, those who consistently work their groups become the most connected people in town. They reap rewards that not only come in the form of sales growth, but also in having a wealth of resources, tools and connections at your fingertips. Consistency isn’t days or weeks, but months and years, so choose groups of people you love to be around and settle in for the long haul.

The old cliche, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is relevant here. After all, people do business with people, not necessarily just with companies. 

Warning: joining and working your local networking groups can have serious side effects. You may find that you strive to be a better person and lift your game. 

You may also find that new friendships with great people form. If the law of averages is correct, and you become an average of the five people you spend the most time with, then that seems worth considering when you choose your groups. 

Do you have any other tips about networking? Share them with us in the comment box below.

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