Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Networking - How to Start a Local Business Network With No Budget

If you are just getting started in business, you need all the help that you can get. In fact, the odds of your success are automatically stacked against you.

By joining a network, you can flip those odds back in your favor by surrounding yourself with experts. Read on to find out how you can create a local network on a small budget.

Before you start a network, you will need to scout out a venue for a meeting place. Although most of the activity of the group will take place over email and through the phone, you will need to periodically get together to swap war stories, get advice, and help each other.

Not to mention that this is also a great place to swap leads and referrals with other members. Look for a venue that is free to use. Many times this will be a place like a church basement, a library conference room, the local chamber of commerce, or even someone's home.

Once you have secured a location, you are in the position of hand-picking members so that you can benefit from the cream of the crop. Look for local business owners that you would like to maintain a long-term relationship with.

Look for complimentary services, but never direct competitors. Networks are a place to tell all, so if you share your secrets with someone that can use them against you, this is never good.

You can post notices, send out emails, call, or canvass that local owners that you want to join. Start with a small group of people around 5-10 when you are just getting started.

As the group grows, you will need to have officers in order to keep everything straight and to maintain a standard of quality from the members as well.

Once you have your members you will need to decide how often to meet, whether you are going to have rules and bylaws, and if you are going to charge dues to belong to the group (to cover overhead). Meeting every other week or monthly will be plenty.

By creating a network, you are giving your business access to people that have been there and done that already. They've made the mistakes that you have yet to make and through their wisdom, you may never make them.

With a network you get out what you put in. It is critical that you help all of the other members to the best of your ability as well. If you show that you are willing to give, when you need help other people will come to your rescue.

By : Joshua_Black

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