Networking is one of the most effective ways to increase your business and improve your community at the same time. There are many different ways to network. Learning the ways that work for you can help you to make the best use of your time and talents to the benefit of yourself and those around you. A “give back to get” philosophy can help to participate in networking in a way that feels natural and that has benefit for everyone involved.
- Volunteer your time. Networking can be achieved in many ways. But, one of the most beneficial is when you volunteer with an organization you love. You will meet other like-minded individuals and help an organization you care about. In the long run, this benefits your business because others who support the organization will think of you first when a need for products or services like yours arise. Giving back to your community is the best way to fulfill your need for customers and your need for giving back at the same time.
- Join a networking group. Many small business owners participate in groups designed specifically for networking. In most of these groups, competitors within the same industry are not allowed. Instead, the group is made up of business people from different industries within the same geographic location, allowing ease of referring each other to prospective clients. For example, a decorator would want to be able to refer her clients to good painters, good wallpaper installers and good flooring installers. By participating in a networking group with each of these, she could give and get referrals to other members in the group.
- Attend community events. Community events offer a great opportunity to network, even when you aren’t there in any official capacity. Meeting others in your community and helping to raise awareness or money for a cause can help you make friends and meet other business people in the area. The more people you know in your community, the better able you are to give and receive the benefits of that community.
Most people are eager to give business to people who are genuinely interested in the community and its causes. Finding ways to give back in your community and to network with others who have a similar commitment is one of the best ways to help your community and your business thrive.