This week we’ll go over finding places to network. And yes, you’ll need to know your answers to last week’s questions before you begin.
Networking can be one of the most personally and professionally rewarding things you do, but what does it have to do with your productivity?
Networking takes time, there’s travel time, time at the event and the follow-up time when you get home. And you want to spend your time at the events that are the most beneficial for you and your business.
You want to do the tasks that move you closer to your goals and, in that respect, networking is like any other task. You want to be doing networking that moves you closer to your goals. And while hanging out with friends is fun, if that’s the only networking you’re doing, it might be time to revisit where you’re networking (or how).
Networking generally serves one of four purposes:
- A place for you to connect with your ideal client
- A place for you to connect with your referral partners
- A place for you to be supported and learn how to grow your business
- An activity to get you out of the house, because you suddenly realize you haven’t left for two weeks for anything other than personal or family errands
If you’re already out there networking, review your current groups. Which category (or categories) does each of your groups fit into?
There is value to networking for any of those four reasons. However, I’m going to focus on the first two.
So, how do you find places to network? Ask yourself these questions:
- What groups or associations do your ideal clients belong to?
- What conferences do your ideal clients attend?
- Where do your ideal clients network?
To answer these questions do these two things:
- Google it! You know who your ideal client is, so use a short description of those people and add association or conference to the end.
- Are you friends with someone who’s your ideal client? Ask them!
One other way to search for networking groups or events is to go to Meetup.com and EventBrite.com. No, Meetup is not a dating type website. It’s a website full of groups inviting you to become a member if your interests align. So, in addition to networking groups for businesses, you’ll find jogging groups, game groups and many other fun things. Generally Meetup.com is for networking and EventBrite is for conferences or one-time events, although that is not always true.
However you find networking groups, go a couple times and see if it’s a group for you. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the group just isn’t a good fit. That’s okay – find other groups that are a better fit.
This week, in the comments I invite you to share your answers to the three questions above.