One of the questions I often get from clients who can see the benefit of networking is “where should I go Vanessa?”
There are endless possibilities when it comes to networking and the more focused you can be on where your ideal clients are likely to be hanging out, the better!
First of all, get clear on who your ideal clients are so that you have a clearer picture of where you are likely to meet them – if they are stay at home moms, for example, you are unlikely to meet them at events that coincide with the school run. Where are they congregating? Consider sports clubs, events that target moms with young children, charity events, parenting seminars and so on.
To get you started here is a list of 12 places and events you should attend to connect with potential decision makers, get warm introductions and even do some informal “market research” on your ideal clients.
- Professional Associations – Trade and Industry Specific
- Networking and Business Referral Groups (www.bni.com or www.letip.com)
- Chambers of Commerce
- Conferences, Trade Shows, Seminars & Workshops (www.biztradeshows.com or www.eventbrite.com)
- CEO and Executive Clubs
- Country Clubs in your local town
- Events listed in local business journals (www.bizjournals.com)
- Meet ups in your local town (www.meetup.com)
- Sports Clubs
- Charity fundraising events
- Women’s professional groups (www.ewomennetwork.com or www.nawbo.com)
- Awards Dinners/event for business
Now it’s time to schedule a selection of events into your calendar. These events will give you an opportunity to meet:
- Potential clients
- Potential referral partners or strategic alliances
- Potential vendors or suppliers for your own business
Be sure to have a bunch of business cards handy and schedule time to follow up with all your new connections too.