As small-business owners joining a networking group is a fantastic way to generate more leads for our businesses, but if for some reason you’re left without a networking home, it can be tough to find a new one that suits you and your needs.

So here’s my top 5 tips for finding a networking group that will help your business grow with the right referrals.

1. Know what you’re looking for

Before you go any further in the search for your networking home, figure out exactly what you want, because that’ll be key in finding the perfect group.

  • Do you want a casual get-together or a more corporate setting?
  • Do you want to attend a weekly session? A monthly session?
  • How much would you like to pay to attend and get more business?
  • What sort of members will help you to receive high-quality referrals? (E.g., if you’re an accountant, are you looking to connect with a business broker?)
  • Do you want to be educated at your networking group?
  • How long can you dedicate each week or month to your group?

Being able to answer these questions will ensure that you tick off all your requirements and find a group that fulfils your needs.

2. Define your networking goals

Part of knowing what you’re looking for in a networking group is understanding what you want to get out of joining one. Everyone has different reasons for attending networking groups, and you should be clear on what you want out of yours.

  • Do you just want to get out of the house and meet some new people?
  • Are you interested in educating yourself more on the best practices in business?
  • Do you have sales targets that you need to meet and want your networking group to help you meet them?
  • Do you need new or specific connections with people in particular industries?

Like the last step, figuring out these goals is key to finding the best networking group for you, so you don’t waste time and energy at groups that won’t suit you.

3. Hone your elevator pitch

At NRG, each member gives a one-minute business talk each week, during which they tell their fellow members about their business and ideal referral. This practice enables our members to fully understand each other’s needs.

When you go to a networking group, even if you’re not giving a one-minute business talk, you’ll have to explain your business to people you’ve never met before. Make sure you have a short description of your business ready to go, and include why you’re unique and who your ideal referral is.

4. Do your research

Hop onto Google and check out groups that meet in your area. Read about their policies and meeting structures and decide if they seem right for you. You can even go onto their Facebook pages and check out what people are saying about them.

Once you’ve done that, make a list of some groups that you’re interested in attending, as well as their contact details.

5. Visit some groups

Get in touch with each of the groups you added to your list and find out if you can visit them.

When you visit the groups, you want to make sure that they meet your expectations. Consider the questions you asked yourself earlier—does this group tick your boxes?

Even more important, do you enjoy the atmosphere of the group? You want to make sure that you’ll enjoy attending your group and that you’ll get along with the members.

NRG is the only networking group in Brisbane that offers two free meetings before you decide to join as a member.

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