Like many other marketing activities, networking requires an investment – of your money, your time and your commitment. So before paying again for another year’s membership of a business networking group, take a moment to analyse whether this investment has given you the return you expected.
Firstly, did you commit fully to the business networking group over the last year? Did you go to meetings regularly, make an effort to meet new people, and then keep in touch with them afterwards? Did you join a committee of become involved in the management of the business networking group? If you haven’t made the grade at your end, then you shouldn’t expect a big return. Your decision on whether to stay with this particular business networking group should revolve around whether you plan to put in 100% effort for the next 12 months.
However, if you can hand on heart say that you invested the right amount of time, then the question really does become about what you got out of it.
Here’s a list of things to consider:
- How many new contacts did you make that you would feel comfortable contacting?
- How much new business did you get as a result of being part of the business networking group?
- How valuable was the content of the events you attended? What did you learn that has helped you or your business?
- How much did you enjoy mixing with the other members?
- How much time did you invest with each network?
- What was the total cost of being with the network for the last 12 months?
- How relevant was the network to the type of business you run?
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When you start to articulate some of these things, it will quickly become clear whether you should stay or move on from each business networking group.
I think most of us are pretty sold on the idea of extending our business networking groups. Knowing more people gives you a greater opportunity to be of service. It’s certainly one of my key marketing activities (along with writing) so I make sure I review my success with various networks on a regular basis. I have recently decided not to rejoin one of my business networking groups, but to substitute it with involvement in two industry bodies.
Don’t be afraid to quit a network if it isn’t working for you, providing you’ve put the effort in to making it work, of course. If your business changes and other things become more relevant, do consider moving on. That way you can focus your energies on the activities that have the most meaning for you.