Networking can be a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs, build your community & brand, and even potentially meet new clients. Today I wanted to share a few groups and places that may be of benefit to you as you’re trying to network and things to remember both before, during, and after.
Rising Tide Society: Connecting with other creative entrepreneurs in your area is a great way to build friendships. #Communityovercollaboration is the tagline for The Rising Tide Society. RTS has Tuesdays Together meetups in a variety of cities around the world. See if there is one in your area! They meet monthly (on Tuesdays) and discuss helpful topics related to business. It’s a combination of networking and education - a win-win.
SCORE: SCORE business classes are a great place to get free business classes and mentoring from industry experts. SCORE is a non-profit through the Small Business Association. They provide a whole host of events with the goal to help you grow your business. They also have mentors, who are industry professionals, that meet with you one on one to provide guidance in running a small business. Best of all? It’s free. Their events are a great way to learn a little more about business and meet other small business owners in your area.
Workshops & conferences: Workshops and conferences are both great places to meet people. Especially if they are hosted in your area, you’re bound to meet people who work nearby.
Traditional networking groups: If you search networking groups in your area you’re bound to find a list of groups in your area with specific interests.Many of these groups allow visitors to visit for a handle of meetings for free before paying to be a member. The benefit of these groups is the level of dedication in the members (since they are paying to be a part of the group and are required to be at a certain number of meetings, you’ll often see most members at most of the meetings). Additionally, normally there is only one person from a specific industry allowed at the groups. This often helps with referrals, because each person in that group will refer you anytime they meet someone with that need (with the same idea being you’ll refer those people to people you meet).
What to remember
30 second elevator pitch: Networking is about building your network, hence the name. It’s not the place to directly sell, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your business. A 30 second elevator pitch is a way to succinctly state who you are and what you do. You want to communicate what you do for your clients, why you’re capable to do it, and why you love doing it.
Business cards: I know much of the world is digital these days. I’ve seen people at networking events walk around with LinkedIn open on their phone and requested the people in attendance find and add themselves as a connection. While this is one strategy, it may not always be the best. Having and exchanging business cards is an easy way to pass along information to people you meet. Bonus points for having a well designed card that’s also fun and a little different from other people.
Have a follow-up plan: Great, you attended a good event and met several people who were interesting. Have a follow-up plan. Connect with them on social media and then email them letting them know it was nice to meet them. Follow up by asking if they would be interested in getting coffee at some point. Keep building that connection.
Make this a regular habit: While you’re trying to build your network, it’s important to remember that you have to keep putting in intentional effort. If you found a particular event helpful and beneficial, keep going back. You’ll likely see some people you’ve already met and you can continue to foster that relationship. You’ll also probably meet new people as well!
Any places you’ve found beneficial for networking? Do you have a favorite type of event?