I am not a naturally introverted person, but before starting T&S Online Marketing, I didn’t hang out with a lot of business people. That means I didn’t have a network of like-minded business owners and friends to learn from in the early stages of starting a business.
I knew that needed to change, so one of the first things we did after starting the business was join the Edmond Chamber of Commerce. I met someone at the first event, and I gave him my card. He greeted me and said, “You know, we actually get a lot of web design people but they don’t stick around, so we hope you will.”
My first thought was, “I could do that, I can stick around if that’s all it takes.” You see, I played Super Mario Brothers as a kid, and my whole strategy was to just keep playing until I won. If I stuck with it long enough, I eventually won.
I did, in fact, stick around. For a decade I was extremely involved and attended tons of events hosted by the Edmond Chamber of Commerce. I am not quite as active now, however, we are able to trace a significant portion of our current business back to the organization.
Chambers are not for everyone, although Edmond Chamber was a great fit for us. Not only can I trace sales directly back to the chamber, but also I have made multiple connections to different groups, businesses, and people because of it.
Just the other day, someone I met at a networking event many years ago messaged me on Facebook with some questions and wanted to talk about a website. Other times, someone will email me years later or reconnect at an event and then become a client.
There are many ways to connect with people, including Facebook and LinkedIn, but nothing can replace face-to-face interaction. Other options for meeting in person include professional organizations for specific industries or roles, as well as business networking groups that are sometimes called “tips clubs,” where the same group of people meet regularly and pass referrals to each other. I’ve been in a few groups like that, too, and some of them have worked well for our business.
The connections you make through networking events can impact your business for years to come. Networking in such a way helps grow your business by making connections to multiple business owners who have their own groups of connections and clients. More than likely you have a client in need of their services, and they have a client in need of your services. Making and keeping those connections over time is a great way to grow your business.