Associations and trade organizations are great places to meet individuals. Usually organizations have a common theme, and it is an understood implication that all members participate to improve themselves and their businesses.
Whether it is a chamber of commerce or a trade association, members have common problems, issues and concerns. By sharing issues and resolutions, members can benefit by the experience of others. Many business owners participate in organizations, not only to network, but also to hopefully circumvent some of the pitfalls encountered by other small businesses–learning from others.
Many trade organizations provide forums for networking. In some cases, these might be private online newsgroups, casual meetings, or even professional events with speakers. In order to take full advantage of these networking opportunities consider these tips.
Who You Know.
It is often not who you know, but who they know. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone put-off someone who is clearly a beginner only to learn that the “beginner” is the brother or friend of a contact they’ve been trying to meet for weeks.
Be honest. Pretending to be something that you are not, or implying you can deliver a product or service that is outside of your abilities, will foster an environment of distrust and potentially harm your reputation. Keep in mind that networking is viral?vital? and if promises are not kept, word will spread. Establishing yourself and firm as an honest, reputable company.