On Networking Groups Part Two

On Networking Groups (Part Two)
In On Networking Groups - Part One, I​ spoke briefly about the​ four types of​ networking groups .​
Now, let's take a​ look at​ a​ category of​ networking groups.
One category that most people are familiar with is​ the​ Chamber of​ Commerce .​
Chambers serve a​ long standing role in​ the​ business community .​
It is​ a​ role of​ development and​ support .​
a​ Chamber of​ Commerce can offer business both small and​ large with networking opportunities, training programs, legislative assistance and​ a​ host of​ other benefits .​
a​ Chamber of​ Commerce can be a​ local, statewide, national, or​ international organization with separate memberships for​ each .​
If you belong to​ an​ area Chamber of​ Commerce, you do not belong to​ a​ state or​ national Chamber .​
Each plays their own role in​ the​ business community.
Some Chambers of​ Commerce take more of​ a​ role in​ the​ community to​ influence policy while others might focus more on business development .​
Most of​ them however have a​ wealth of​ information for​ the​ member that goes unused by most.
For example, let's say you have a​ business and​ you have a​ question about a​ city ordinance that relates to​ your business .​
Most often a​ Chamber of​ Commerce can provide you with the​ answer to​ your question .​
Each of​ them has a​ database of​ members that can often be accessed through some point .​
Usually computers are made available to​ members with databases that can be searched for​ information on other members .​
When looking for​ networking opportunities within a​ Chamber of​ Commerce, most people think only of​ leads groups or​ the​ common after hours .​
The reality is​ that any function hosted by a​ chamber of​ commerce holds opportunities for​ networking with other business owners and​ business leaders.
Chambers of​ Commerce generally have a​ yearly membership of​ several hundred dollars for​ an​ individual or​ company .​
There are various levels of​ membership that can be had .​
Most Chambers offer an​ executive level membership that includes exclusive meetings between a​ more elite level of​ business people .​
When looking for​ this type of​ prospect, you can often gain access to​ them by joining at​ this level .​
The problem you might have is​ actually paying for​ this level or​ attending the​ functions as​ they are provided.
I and​ many other experts on networking recommend anyone who networks to​ be a​ member of​ several groups .​
This should include a​ Chamber of​ Commerce .​
Keep this in​ mind when considering a​ Chamber of​ Commerce .​
If you are involved in​ your community in​ other business networking organizations like the​ Rotary Club, a​ local Merchant's association, or​ smaller networking group, you might want to​ consider joining a​ Chamber of​ Commerce in​ another part of​ town .​
This will make you a​ part of​ that community as​ well and​ open the​ doors to​ increased prospects and​ opportunities.
In any event, you should always attend a​ Chamber of​ Commerce function in​ any area several times and​ find out what types of​ assistance they can offer for​ the​ growth of​ your type of​ business .​
Do not join any group just for​ the​ sake of​ joining a​ group .​
Find out what types of​ members attend the​ functions that are offered to​ determine the​ amount of​ exposure you will have to​ your target prospect.
When you attend a​ Chamber of​ Commerce meeting for​ the​ first time, look for​ the​ most popular person in​ the​ room, the​ one who everyone seems to​ want to​ talk to​ and​ get to​ know them first .​
This way you will make faster connections to​ the​ rest of​ the​ group .​
Often the​ leaders of​ the​ group can help you to​ get in​ the​ mix quicker.
Look for​ people who do what you do and​ analyze their strengths and​ weaknesses for​ opportunities to​ build alliances with them .​
If they have been a​ member for​ a​ long time, it​ is​ likely that they have most of​ the​ business in​ their industry at​ this point in​ time .​
It is​ hard to​ compete in​ such circumstances, so try an​ alliance before you bang your head against the​ wall trying to​ compete or​ just giving up.
Chambers of​ Commerce have been around for​ many years and​ there are all types, including minority and​ international .​
Be sure to​ visit many before deciding which to​ join and​ your membership dollars will serve you better.

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