Every business owner has a dream.
For some, it’s to become a titan of commerce with a dynastic grip on their industry. For others, they simply want to make a living doing what they love.
However, for most business owners, their goals lay somewhere in between. They want a business that is modestly successful and always growing. They want to afford a wealthy, comfortable life without fear of outgrowing their small-town values and focus on their community.
Many business owners achieve their dream, but not through dumb luck. Instead, nearly every business owner makes smart use of networking techniques to grow their business. What better place to network than your local chamber of commerce?
In this post, we will go over some tactics you can use to network within your local chamber of commerce and expand your business in your community.
Below are some tips to network with businesses similar in size to yours within your community:
1.Attend all chamber conferences and meetings.
We understand. It’s probably not the most exciting thing in the world to hear about economic policy and listen to debates on topics outside of your realm of expertise. However, the best way to get your name out there is by being visible. If you attend every local chamber event you can, your chances of networking with like-minded business owners skyrocket.
2. Reach out to similar businesses for cross-promotion.
It might seem counterintuitive to network with your competitors. However, rubbing elbows with industries strange to yours will only get you so far. Instead, look for local rivals in your industry and see if you are mutually beneficial to one another. At the very least, observe their strategies and see if you can’t emulate them, or improve upon them.
3. Invite industry minds to a round table.
Again, your competition doesn’t have to be your enemy. Invite other members of the industry to a meeting and discuss topics within your realm of knowledge. By picking up tricks of the trade from one another not only will your business improve, so will the entire local industry.
4. Use your chamber membership to expand your LinkedIn network.
Connect with members of your local chamber on LinkedIn. You don’t necessarily even need to have met them in person. The very fact that you are both members of the same chamber will give you something to discuss. Plus, you don’t need to save your networking for a specific time or event. You can network straight from the comfort of your home.
5. Join a committee board or run for office.
The best way to make yourself recognizable in your local chamber is by becoming an active player in the governing body. Depending on the size of your chamber, you can campaign for a seat on the board, or you can volunteer (if your local board is smaller in size). Networking will be easier if meeting members of the board is part of your responsibilities.
6. Refine your pitch and distribute business cards.
Make your introduction as short and simple as possible. The quicker you can make someone realize who you are and what value you bring, the more effective your networking effort will be. Also, be sure to hand out your business card to everyone you network with. It can be difficult to remember everyone’s name and face from a brief introduction. Let your business card do the work for you.
7. Say what you bring, not what you need.
When networking, be sure to highlight what value you bring to the table, not what you need from others. People will be more likely to remember you if you can add something of value to their business. Anything you can do to increase the chances of another business owner reaching out to you will drastically increase the chance of networking leading to something larger.
8. Show off your marketing prowess at a chamber trade show.
A booth at a chamber trade show can be pricey, but it is one of the best ways to show off your business to your peers. A trade show gives you a chance to show off what you do, while also getting a better understanding of other local businesses.
If you follow the tips above, you will see your networking attempts take root. Networking is not a one-time effort. You must always be on the lookout for networking opportunities as you can meet a future business partner anywhere.
Networking is one of the best ways to legitimately grow your business with little effort. Other local business owners are looking to network with you too, so don’t feel like you are annoying others with your marketing network.
If you are looking to expand your pool of potential networking partners, consider joining your local chamber with SOCA. When you join SOCA, you gain access to other local chambers all over the state of Ohio. Reach out today and watch your network thrive.
Join SOCA today!