Networking face to face is important. But you must be intentional about what venues and groups you network with. While there is always an opportunity to make business connections anywhere, you should be looking for opportunities that will garner valuable connections and will increase your bottom line. In my previous stationary business I spent a lot of money (a lot!!) attending various high profile conferences only to leave inspired but with no real value or things I could do to grow my business.
Be selective of where you devote your time
Read reviews online about the conference or program you want to attend before purchasing airfare and paying for the conference fees. Reach out to people who have attended in the past to find out how (or if) it actually helped their business. Many conference are AMAZING social events but not necessarily good for your businesses bottom line.
Another mistake business owners make is they tend to flock to events where their competition is rather then events where their potential customers are. Don’t get me wrong— it is important and necessary to make friendly and collegial connections with others doing the same thing in your industry. But, you ARE running a business and.....
a business is only a business if it is making money
Look for events where those in your target market attend. If you are a fitness trainer don’t just go to events for fitness trainers, go to events where people who are wanting to lose weight are attending--like a fitness expo. Or get a table at a Baby show. Why a baby show? Because new moms are looking to get back into shape after they have a baby. They could easily become a client of yours.
For me as a blogger, I love connecting with other bloggers. My specific market consists of bloggers who are just getting started or have hit a slump in their business and need a jump start to get their business off the ground again. I look for events where these type of bloggers attend because they could become potential clients.
Be intentional about your networking
Have you ever attended an amazing conference or event only to leave with no concrete information to take away and apply to your businesses-- and no potential business leads?