Networking businesses in the new year

By Kaitlin Adkins - Contributing columnist

Can you believe February is among us? I know that I am excited that it is one month closer to spring! With the new year I encourage any new businesses in town or current chamber business to get involved with the Chamber and participate in our events. Here are our top 10 reasons why networking with the Chamber and other businesses are important.

1. To increase your visibility.

One of the most important elements—and one of the most overlooked — to getting the biggest bang for your networking buck is to make sure your face and your message get in front of the same — and the right — people on an ongoing basis.

2. To start relationships that will lead to strategic alliances, joint ventures, and referrals.

Meeting people at the networking function is merely the important first step towards reaching your client attraction goals. It’s what you do after the event that is more important. Follow-up is key to deepening the relationships that will increase your bottom line.

3. To stay current on trends in your industry (and those of your target market).

Attending networking events given by your professional association—or associations related to your target market—allows you to glean information about current and future trends. The information you gather at these functions can easily give you a leg up on your competition.

4. To become connected to key influencers in your industry and within your target market.

Do some research. Find out which organizations attract the people you want to meet and you will get the biggest return on your investment of time, money, and energy.

5. To learn from and to be motivated by powerful speakers.

Many business networking events have speakers who are experts in fields that will be of interest to you and to your target market.

6. To find suppliers and solutions to your problems.

Most people think of networking events as a place to pursue business. Networking events can be a great place to find accountants, printers, salespeople, etc. for yourself and your clients.

7. To hone your marketing message.

Use business networking events to practice and refine your elevator speech. Make sure it conveys in 30 seconds or less what solutions you provide, for whom you provide them, and the benefits of doing business with you.

8. To socialize.

Today, as more and more people work out of their attics, basements, or spare bedrooms, it has become increasingly important for us to socialize, recharge our batteries, and preserve our sanity.

9. To recruit talent.

If you are looking to expand your business and hire staff, business networking events are a good starting point for your exploration of the marketplace. You will be able to enter into conversations with potential employees and get clear on what your needs are.

10. To uncover the “hot buttons” of your target market.

Capitalize on the conversations you have at business networking events to uncover what makes prospective clients tick and what ticks them off. Then create products or services that will alleviate their pain and make you a hero/ine in their eyes.

By Kaitlin Adkins

Contributing columnist

Kaitlin Adkins is the executive director at the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.

Kaitlin Adkins is the executive director at the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.