Have you ever joined a membership site or networking organization and then never utilized it? I know I have, and there’s nothing worse than wasting money that you are not getting any benefit from.
This post is really a “best practices” for membership in any type of organization, whether it is online or in person business networking and support. They are quite simple rules, but we all need reminders from time to time.
Before you sign up for any type of course, program or business support organization, make sure their mission is aligned with what you are hoping to gain. For example, Business Among Moms provides support and education for mom entrepreneurs, along with opportunities to showcase your business at our live events. If you are looking for pure referrals, than you may want to look at an organization such as BNI or other referral networking companies.
This may seem obvious but I’m often amazed by people that pay their membership and then never come to an event. The best way to utilize membership in any organization is to actually show up whether it is online or in person and continue to participate as consistently as possible.
One of the great benefits of business networking is the diversity of the people and their networks. If you make a great connection at an event, be sure to take it to the next level and invite them for coffee or a 1:1 meeting. You will never know what you learn about them when you have an hour to discuss your respective businesses, backgrounds and areas where you can help each other. For brownie points, set a goal of the number of people you’d like to have coffee with a week and see how that energizes your business when you do it consistently.
In follow up meetings that I’ve had with women I’ve met at events, I’ve made amazing business and personal relationships including event sponsors, customers, partners, mentors and friends. The power of women connecting is real. Together, we do great things.
Utilize the Member Benefits
Some organizations may offer a membership directory. If so, list yourself in it. It helps you get found online, makes it easier for other members to contact you and looks professional. If there is a Facebook group – use it to ask for referrals, get feedback on a project or to help others in the group.
Be a Resource
The people that are remembered and respected in business groups are the ones that help others, not the ones that only promote themselves. If you are really savvy with email marketing, you could offer to do a small group session on how to get started with email marketing. These skills may not have anything to do with your primary business, but when you are of service to others it’s remembered and will help you when they can.
I hope this gave you some ideas on how you can more effectively participate in business or networking groups you are involved in.
Not in a networking organization? Consider checking out Business Among Moms. Our benefits go beyond just in person networking. We host online events, provide member speaker and workshop host opportunities and much more.
How do you get the most out of your networking group memberships?