Great place for finding new networking opportunities
Small businesses are everywhere. There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. I love sharing how to help you create the business and the life you are looking for. So I am going to share a whole bunch of great places for finding new networking opportunities. Some are online and some are offline. I will mention some organizations that you may not have heard of before. And some websites that you haven't heard of before.
Online networking opportunities
A lot of people love Facebook, but many times you do Facebook wrong. Why? Because you join these giant Facebook groups that have around 60,000 people in them. The problem is that you get lost in the group. There is going to be lots of competition for what you do. And it's hard to get known and be seen.
Look for the smaller Facebook groups. You will be able to connect with small business owners and then joining groups that have around 200-500 people in them. If the group is active, then that's the kind of group that you want to be in. Anything up to around 2000 people, is going to be a good group to join. Just make sure it's an active group.
Sometimes you get into those smaller Facebook groups by joining a course or membership. That is another way that you can get into some of these active groups.
I'm in a couple that I pay like $30 to $40 a month to be in those groups. And I'm learning a ton of stuff. One of those is Jennifer Allwood Inner Circle.
I love those smaller Facebook groups. I've gotten a ton of work out of them. And I've referred out a ton of work from them. They are just great places to be.
Other groups on Facebook
You can try:
- Business groups
- Your local Facebook groups
I'm in a ton of local Facebook groups where I live. There is one for my town. One for the Space Coast because that is where I live. What I do is use those local groups to help find other local groups. So once you get into a really solid local group, then you can tell them you have a business and ask where you can find local networking opportunities.
Finding new networking opportunities locally
There are many informal networking groups that people don't know about unless somebody tells you about them. So asking in your local Facebook groups can be a great way to find out about them.
There is BNI - Business Networking International. It's a group that you have to pay to join, but there is only one of each type of business in that group. And they focus on referrals.
Chambers of commerce are great. If you're doing local networking, civic organizations are great for local networking.
You can also find a Toastmasters group that focuses on local businesses. Toastmasters is a speaking group. They are also great for confidence as well. So if you're struggling with your confidence, or you think that you're awkward on calls with people, especially doing zoom calls. Toastmasters is a great way to help you get over that fear and meet some great people too.
I want you to think outside the box because there are business owners everywhere.
Business owners are everywhere
There are around 30 million small businesses in this country. I believe that number is low because there are also around 59,000 freelancers out there too. A lot of times freelancers don't consider themselves small business owners. And so I think the number is probably around 60 million.
I've been asked if I'll put a cap on how many bookkeepers I'm going to let into Bookkeeper Training School. To meet the demand for bookkeepers right now, we probably need at least 10,000 new bookkeepers. And so if we hit 10,000 bookkeepers we might be cutting it off. But we are not anywhere near that.
There is a huge huge demand for bookkeepers right now. The average age of a small business accountant is about 65. So there's 25% of accounting professionals that are going to retire in the next five years.
And so we have a lot of headway to make, to make sure that all the small businesses out there are getting served.
And also anytime that there's either an economic downturn or some sort of strife, like a pandemic, lots of new businesses form because people are tired of living by the rules that everybody else sets.
And so I think we're going to see tons of small businesses come out of the pandemic. I know lots of people are doing side hustles and they're doing those as small businesses.
Think of new ways to seek out new business
A lot of people are turning away from having a second job and are creating something on their own. These are all the folks that are looking to connect with other businesses owners.
Don't just be looking for business groups. But also be looking for groups that you're interested in. Because networking is so much fun when you're interested in participating.
So there is:
- Civic groups
- Moms groups
- Chambers of Commerce
- Alignable: Alignable is a great place to hook up with other businesses. So Alignable is a networking platform for small businesses. That is a great place to actually has groups that you can join.
- LinkedIn has groups.
- Connect with your college. Look up your alumni network on LinkedIn. They may also have one on Facebook as well.
- NextDoor is a hyper-local site. That might be a good place to let people know that you have a business or to ask about networking groups.
Finding new networking opportunities with connectors
I love connectors. Connectors are people who are good at networking and connecting with other people. So find those connectors. Connectors are typically lawyers, insurance agents of all different kinds, financial advisors.
You can also check out your chamber of commerce. See who's on the board of that chamber of commerce because a lot of them are typically connectors. Also, look at just chamber members, and pick out some who know a lot of people. You can reach out to them and let them know that you are considering joining the chamber and that you are looking at other options. Find out their favorite ways to network and just reach out. You can reach out on LinkedIn.
If you find them on Alignable, you can connect with them online. A lot of times they have their email address available on their chamber website or maybe their Facebook page. So reach out to people
Avoid the biggest mistake when finding new networking opportunities
The biggest mistake that your small business makes when you're first starting to network is that you think that if you just put yourself in these groups, you're going to get business. But you have to connect with individuals. People want to do business with people they like and trust. And so you have to talk to people.
You need to:
- Talk to people
- Comment on post
- Send private messages
- Create conversations
Business on Facebook is not happening in the groups. It's happening behind the scenes in private messages. And so messenger is where all the businesses happening. It's not happening publicly in the groups. So you need to start talking and connecting with people.
I'll have people that will message me because they're looking for a bookkeeper, I will have them fill out my form. Or I'll put their requests into our group.
But that's because of all the networking that I do and all the connections that I've made. When people are looking for a bookkeeper, I'm on the person they go to. That takes a little bit of time to do.
The more that you engage with other people, the more relationships you build, the more likely it is that your firm will grow faster.
Maximize your networking opportunities
I want you to maximize your networking opportunities for the amount of time that you're spending. And so if you are cold calling, that is one phone call you're making. That's one person you're trying to connect to. You're trying to connect to the right person. You're going to have voicemails or anything on hold. It's slow networking. If you are going to network in a group, that would be so much better.
I'm trying to maximize the number of businesses that you can touch and can connect with within a short period. And so I found that this method of networking is without a doubt the most effective.
If you have any questions you can always go to askkristin.net, and fill out the form. And we will answer your questions either on a future podcast or a live. Or you can connect with us in our group, the Small Biz Mama community on Facebook.