In these challenging times when every dollar spent must be a wise investment, one of those decisions is where you should spend both time and money in terms of business development. One thing is for sure, you will need to contribute in order to gain. If you join a networking group thinking I’ll just attend and business will come my way, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
You will get out of a professional organization what you put into it. Have a plan when you attend the various events on who you want to meet. If there is a directory or listing of the members, identify at least 5 new prospects you would like to meet that either can directly use your services or can be a conduit to these prospects. Oftentimes, these include CPAs, attorneys, etc. You will be far more effective with this targeted marketing approach.
Next, consider joining a committee. This is where the time as well as the money comes in. Determine how much time you have to donate to serving on a committee. Also, choose one that is a personal interest of yours, or one that your business will can benefit from. It may also be one that has some members on it that you would like to get to know better. And one last thought, consider how much visibility you can see from participating.
There are three benefits you can see from being on a committee:
- Have more one on one experiences with other members because it will be a smaller group.
- You will be recognized for your contributions.
- The members will readily see how you function in this environment and will ultimately recognize that you are someone they would like to do business with based on your contributions.
In selecting the organization(s) consider if the members are those who would need your product/services. Your ROI (Return on Investment) generally isn’t seen after just attending a couple of meetings (although it has certainly happened). You need to make a commitment and after participating, you will then reap the rewards.
Colin Graves says
Like so many things when you are running a small business you have to be careful where you invest your time – involvement in organisations is usually a very long game and so you have to be prepared to put a lot of effort in before any payoff.
Frank W. says
A very timely post given the economic conditions. I’ve avoided professional bodies, and preferred to do my targeted networking on blogs like yours and LinkedIn. However while a good strategy, the geographic distance between co tributors offen precludes the establishment of business relationships. More and more I’m considering local professional organisations.
Which one would you recommend in the HR space?
I have seen this happen in my own life. Having attending meetings and events in the past has totally helped my online business. The funny thing is I get a lot of followers from people in my offline world.
Todd Lloyd, DC says
Personally, I’m a big fan of Toastmasters. At Toastmasters, you not only develop your personal and interpersonal communication skills and leadership skills, you also make important connections with leaders in the community. These are people who care enough about their personal development that they attend these meetings.