Three Hidden Benefits to Networking
January 24, 2012
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I once suggested that a company I was working with to consider joining the local chamber. The response was that the chamber members were not their target audience for sales. It is such a shame because of the opportunities they missed out on. Don’t let this happen to you.
Reduce cost of operating
As time went on I saw more and more needs for this organization crop up that they might have been able to receive cheaper if they had providers in their professional network. Printing, video production, marketing, computer network support, and catering are all examples of the small local businesses that can give real benefit to a company of any size.
Information and access on local services
Oh my, all the things I have learned from networking with local business folk. I didn’t know we had a local video production company in town let alone that the cost of a 30 second web video was comparable or less than design and printing of a business brochure. I now know that there is local business that provides office space, conference rooms, and all the needed amenities to small business owners at a reasonable price. I can’t wait to see what I discover next.
The hidden referral
So maybe the local caterer is not going to need professional custom software development. They may know someone who now, or in the future, who does. My favorite story came to me from Dave Sisk of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. This is the story of a small business man who received a referral from a contact to help out a local franchise store with security cameras in the parking lot. The chain was so happy with what he was able to do that they offered him a significant maintenance contract for all the stores. It’s not always who you know, but who you know knows that can lead to the next big gig.
There are many opportunities for local networking. Local chamber of commerce is a good place to start. Also look for more informal and cost-effective events as well. Keep your eye on local business publications to learn more about these.
In Thurston County, Washington: