Quickly Grow Your Network Today!
One of the most powerful ways to grow your business is through referrals. However, referrals come from people you know (i.e. people in your personal network). So what if you just moved to a new city and literally don’t know anybody there yet? Or what if you don’t have any business experience yet? How are you supposed to get referrals without having a personal network?
The answer is obvious. You need to grow your personal network… but how?
Growing your personal network takes a little bit of time. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to accelerate this process. Following are seven strategies that you can use to grow your personal network of contacts:
STRATEGY #1 – JOIN THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
One of the best places to meet influential people in your area is the Chamber of Commerce. Don’t worry if the members of the Chamber don’t seem to be your ideal clients. It’s all about meeting others in your community and letting them know who you are and what you do. Even if they are not potential clients of yours—they may: (1) know people who can become clients, or (2) introduce you to other business owners who can become strategic alliance partners with you. You may want to join their Ambassador team as well so you can greet new members, participate in ribbon cuttings, etc.
STRATEGY #2 – JOIN THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
The Better Business Bureau is another reputable organization. There are various types of membership levels and many different opportunities for meeting other members.
STRATEGY #3 – JOIN LOCAL NETWORKING GROUPS
There are all sorts of networking groups that meet each week or month for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks. Most groups will allow you to attend as a guest for free. Attend every group you can. Many of these groups limit membership to one or two members for each business type (i.e. only one or two CPA’s can belong to a group). Three of the largest networking groups are BNI, Le Tip, and Network After Work. Visit their websites to find out where and when they meet in your area. Then, go to their meetings and see which you are most comfortable with.
STRATEGY #4 – SUPPORT A LOCAL CHARITY
Working side-by-side with somebody for a similar cause is one of the best ways to get to know somebody and establish relationships of trust. Find a local charity to support, and ask them how you can help. Be sure to choose a charity that provides local service opportunities (instead of just asking for financial donations). A good place to start is by searching for local Rotary Clubs.
STRATEGY #5 – ATTEND LOCAL MEETUPS AND EVENTS
There are many different websites that are used to list and promote various local meetings and events. Browse through the following websites to see if any meetings of interest are being held in your area:
STRATEGY #6 – START A B2B PEER-TO-PEER GROUP
How many other professionals do you think would like more clients? Almost all of them. Most, however, will not take the time to organize a peer group. If you take the initiative to start a peer-to-peer group among complementary business professionals, you will be seen as the leader—even if you are brand new to the area. To accomplish this, pick a location of where you would like to meet. Then, create an invitation and personally go to each business professional’s office to drop off the invitation so that you can personally invite them to attend. These contacts will become your Referral Team.
STRATEGY #7 – GO WHERE OTHERS GO
It has been said that if you want to catch big fish you have to go where the big fish hang out. That applies here as well. Where do the people you want to meet hang out? This might vary from city to city. Is there a gym they belong to? Is there a certain Country Club? How about a wine tasting club? Let the professionals you come in contact with know that you are new in town and ask them where they workout and where they play golf and what other places or clubs they suggest you look into.
By following some of these suggestions, your personal network will begin to grow immediately. So don’t delay. Select a strategy you are comfortable with and begin today!