An excellent strategy is networking for small business marketing, whether you are working to get more clients for your own small business or helping other local businesses with their marketing. Before we go any further, this is how I am defining “networking” in this case.
Networking refers to and can be defined as interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career. This strategy has been around since the beginning of time, so let’s bring it into this millennium with a discussion of how to go about networking for small business that is both time and cost effective.
Let’s discuss three strategies here, including service organizations, Chambers of Commerce and specific trade organizations, and more general groups within your community. Each of these has a place in your plan for networking for small business, both your own and others you may be marketing for locally.
If you’ve been a part of my online community for any amount of time you know that Rotary was an integral part of my success story. After searching on the internet for volunteer opportunities in my city when I was first starting my business in 2006, Rotary kept showing up in the search results (SERPs). I attended my first meeting during the summer of 2006 and joined that fall. Rotary is an international service organization that connected me with the movers and shakers in my community. Kiwanis, Elk’s and Lion’s are also service organizations that are worthwhile to connect with to market your small business.
Even though I am not a member of my local Chamber of Commerce, attending and participating in their ongoing trainings, business events, and social gatherings is a way I get to know what’s happening with businesses new and established in my city. If I am marketing for a local business, I bring the business owner along with me for networking for small business marketing opportunities. Working side by side in the community and supporting each other is the way to grow and market your local business.
Depending upon the nature of your business, there will be local groups that make sense for you. I’m still a real estate broker in California and stay involved in their activities on a regular basis. Each year I volunteer for a golf tournament fundraiser and love driving the golf cart from one place to another to serve those who are playing that day. You may have to do some research, and I have found that asking others in that profession or trade is the best way to connect and then be able to use networking for small business.
More general groups within the community would include friends of the library, fundraisers for local non-profits, and neighborhood meetings. You never know who you will meet at these events and soon people will get to know you as both someone who cares about improving the community as well as a professional or tradesperson who cares about their needs. You will find many of the same people volunteering and participating over and over in your city or town, and that’s the best way to enjoy networking for small business as a growth and marketing strategy.
You may also benefit by reading my article on using SEO for small business marketing.
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I’m author and online marketing strategist Connie Ragen Green. I work with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of online income and would love to connect with you. Pick up my Online Entrepreneur’s Blueprint and get started right away.