We spoke about names and memberships on my last blog. Here are a few more items you will want to keep in mind. For a specific list of items please email me.
Here are other factors you will want to keep in mind:
1. You will want to find a conducive location for all to meet. You can hold your first meeting at a local (inexpensive) restaurant or if you know of someone who has a conference room, see if you can meet there.
2. You will want some paperwork, a contract perhaps, or guidelines of what you expect of the members. You can convert a few members into Board Members, if you choose to go that route. I can assist you with what worked for my group.
3. What you will add to the group; i.e. a website, newsletter, Facebook page, etc. You will want to have this in place before you start to recruit as this will be (or could be) your main form of communication.
4. Structure; when will you meet, how often, how long each member has to introduce themselves, referral incentives, etc.
5. Length of membership. Do you want a six month commitment or do you want a year commitment. You will want to set your (pricing) due structure based on length of membership.
6. What the membership includes. I did a website, monthly newsletter, 30 second intro at each meeting and what I like to call "Five Minutes of Fame." Each member was responsible for the door prize, snack (usually coffee and cookies) and in exchange they get 5 minutes to speak about their business. It's a great way to promote the other businesses and alleviates you from the burden of providing a door prize, snack, etc.
If you want a more in depth look into creating a networking group email me at: email@example.com
I spoke in my last blog that you should go to a networking group.to get your name out there.
Here's a thought why not start one of your own. "Now why would I do that?" You ask. Well let me tell you. You can invite the businesses that you want to associate with; allowing one business (per category) i.e. only one Notary or only one hairdresser and you can make money. That's right you can be the one to make money.
Now starting a networking group may sound easy but I found it a bit daunting when I started, so I can teach you my mistakes. But before I do you must make sure, first and foremost, that you will be committed to this venture for at least a year. If you are ONLY in it to make money move on. Yes, I know I just said you can make money. You can but there are other factors too. You get to make solid connections, referrals if you will and those can sometimes be more valuable than money. If you believe in yourself, your business and know you can be successful then others will do the same. You know they say the best form of advertising is word of mouth...this network is the perfect opportunity. As I go along you will see what you need to accomplish and why doing things in order (or as close to it as possible) will set you up for a great experience.
1. Name: You will want to establish a name for the network. We were a group of women owned businesses so we were NOW (Network of Women). You will also want to establish a trade name (if you plan on having a separate checking account). You will also want to have a name for business cards and a domain name for a website....now before you balk about why does your group need a website...think about these points:
a. You can get sponsors (or local business owners) to advertise on the site for a small fee which means more money for you (or the network).
b. A great way to highlight your members and their business. You can add a page for each business (if you need assistance with that email me and we can talk).
c. A great way to communicate, post meeting schedules, give referrals, etc.
d. Legitimizes the network.
2. Membership: Think about who you want as a member. As I stated we were a group of women owned businesses and only had one business per category. This was a great thing for those businesses fighting a lot of competition; they were the only business in the group. This allowed the referrals to go to one specific business and meant more revenue for the particular business.
Your membership can consist of both men and women, all men, all women but make sure you know who you want before you start to recruit. You can choose how many people you want to join and the cost to join. That's right you charge a membership fee. I might repeat myself later in figuring the costs of running the network, however; for now we will continue. You can charge annually, or semi-annually (two times a year) or even monthly. The fee should be reasonable and I will let you know how I charged and what the "membership" came with. I will also touch on having an agreement, member application, etc. in the next blog.
Thanks for tuning in.
P.S. If you are interested in speaking about the cost of a website please feel free to contact me. I do offer a reduced rate especially if you allow me to promote my business on your site....plus you get more free marketing advice. You can't beat that.
Why networking? Networking can be a good thing if you know what you are getting into. You will want to do research before joining any group. You want to know the cost to join, who runs the group and the type of group. Your local Chamber of Commerce usually holds mixers (aka Networking meetings) and they are open to all businesses. There are some specific "trade" networking groups i.e. Real Estate that are only allowing Agents.
First, choose a group that has a diverse group of people. Yes, they might even have your competition but that's okay, they might service a different part of town.
Second, choose a group based upon your schedule. You don't want to cancel appointments, cut into your marketing routine just to go to a meeting. There are some groups that meet twice a month, some more and some less. Go to the right meeting for you. It's okay if you hop from one meeting to another; sometimes you have to do so in order to get the right fit. Then again, if you don't find the "right" group, networking may not be your cup of tea.
Third, make sure that there aren't long term membership fees (to be paid up front) before even getting in the door. Some groups will either expect you to "pay" them to be there (about $5) or they will charge to cover the meal if they meet at a restaurant; either way make sure you are prepared to pay.
Last item make sure that you bring plenty of marketing materials (business cards, brochures, etc.); business cards being the most important as everyone does a card exchange.
If you want to be the one in control of these Networking meetings then stay tuned as I will teach you how to start your own networking group and make money from it.
Best wishes for successful marketing.
Most people are hearing how slow the market is and are concerned about getting work. Well, despite how the market is; good or bad, you can still make a living. There are many ways out there and if you are willing to work hard then you will succeed.
The most IMPORTANT thing to remember is follow through! Follow through on a consistent basis and you can/will be successful.
First, market yourself to the vendors we provided for you. Divide the list into thirds and market to the vendors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays can be spent visiting facilities such as: retirement communities, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, etc. Get to know the people at the front desk and make sure that you get a card from them. Follow up by phone and then the next time you visit bring a small bag of candy or a tray of cookies. Greasing the "secretary" is the best way to get an appointment; going to the manager doesn't do any good until AFTER you get that initial meeting.
If you don't want to be a "mobile" notary or want to do more then just be a Notary Signing Agent, try starting your own home business. Take time to make a list of ALL of your skills and see what your strongest points are and concentrate on those skills. For example, if you are good at Human Resources try being a consultant to (new and) current small businesses. Consult them on how to hire, fire, etc. Offer them an Employee Manual so that everyone knows what the company expects and what the roles of each employee is, etc. You can actually be quite successful in this market.
Bartering is HUGE now and it is a great tool to get what you need for no money. For example, I have often traded creating a website in exchange I was able to get time with a nutritionist or other things I needed in my personal life. I still make money making websites and doing graphic work but I don't mind trading. Another great tool is a "referral" fee. Although I do not actually "pay" anyone out of pocket I do give them something in return. If someone refers a "paying" customer to me then I will usually give them a year of hosting for free. Everyone wins and you haven't lost any money. In fact, this referral is a great motivational tool for someone to refer you.
Join networking groups. There are many out there that will let you attend a meeting at no charge. It's a great way to get your name out there and hopefully you would be the only one of your kind at the meeting. If you would like to know how to start a networking group, let me know.
Invest in magnets for your car and as you drive around you will be advertising your services.
All of these things can make you successful but you MUST work hard, market yourself and keep the faith. If you need more marketing tips email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help anyway I can.
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