When you run a business, being connected to other businesses can be extremely beneficial. More specifically, it can help you to connect with other local businesses and business people. When you’re involved in a business community, you can make valuable connections and continually find ways to keep improving both your business and your own skills and knowledge. If you don’t feel like you’re as connected to your local business community as you could be, there are plenty of ways to get more involved. Take a look at some of the things you could do to connect with a wider community of business people.
Find Local Organizations and Groups
Local business groups can be excellent resources. They can offer all kinds of events and benefits, from casual drinks or workshops to discounts with certain businesses. You can often find that there is already at least one organization close to you that you can join. A number of organizations have different chapters or branches in various places. For example, Business Network International is a good choice for solopreneurs looking to connect with others. Some organizations might be for a certain industry or on a certain theme, such as the tech space. Find one that works for your interests and goals.
Create Your Own Organization
Can’t find a business organization that works for you? Consider starting your own instead. If you think that there could be enough interest, but no one else has taken the step to start something new, you could be the one to do it. Perhaps you can see that your community is thriving with small businesses, but no one gets together to share their knowledge and experience. If you want to start off small, try creating a Facebook group or other social media page, and invite people to join. You could begin with a monthly event when you invite everyone to meet for a chat, or perhaps provide some useful resources and start some discussions.
Discover Local Business People Online
Even though you’re looking for people who are local to you, the internet can still be your best source if you want to find businesses to connect with. You can search for businesses and local entrepreneurs online and easily get in touch with them too. You could email people to see if they’re interested in collaborating with you, meeting up, joining an event or just talking about shared interests. Social media provides a good way to connect with people too, and you might find LinkedIn and Twitter particularly helpful for finding and getting in touch with local business people.
Look for a Shared Workspace
Finding the right place to work from can be tricky, and a lot of solopreneurs choose to work at home rather than look for an office space. However, a shared workspace can give you a great advantage if you want to connect with your local business community. You can explore several options for how to share a space with others. At Bond Collective Shared Office Space, you could have a private space and benefit from shared spaces too, or you could choose a more open, communal way to work. Shared workspaces often have other benefits, such as events designed for both casual socializing and for business networking.
Partner with Nonprofits
It’s not just other local businesses that can be interesting to get involved with. Nonprofits and charities can also present interesting opportunities to connect not just with a business community but also the wider local community too. There are various ways that you can connect with nonprofits, including by partnering with them and sponsoring them. You might sponsor an event, make regular donations or team up with a nonprofit on any other kind of project. As well as allowing you to form a relationship with a nonprofit, it could give you opportunities to start connecting with some other businesses too.
Attend Business Events
Whether or not you choose to become a member of any local business organizations, you can also look for business events in your local area. This could include conferences, workshops and other events that are useful for business people. They offer opportunities to learn new things, meet new people and perhaps promote yourself and your business. Some events are designed specifically for networking, whereas others might require you to be a little more subtle if you’re trying to get your name out there. Find the events that will be most useful for you and your goals, and perhaps consider getting involved as more than just an attendee.
Host Business Events
In addition to attending events hosted by others, you can also consider hosting your own events. This is an especially good idea if you see a lack of appropriate events and you think that there could be a gap for you to fill. If you’re not sure whether hosting an event would be a good idea, you can do some research to gauge interest first. Find out what sort of event business people in your area might be interested in attending and what they would want to get out of it. It can take a lot of work to put on a successful event, so make sure you have the time to dedicate to it.
Partner with Others for Cross-promotions
If you want to partner with other businesses, joining up with them for cross-promotions is often a good idea. The crucial aspect of this is that you need to have similar audiences. Perhaps you both sell your products or services to small businesses in the area, so it makes sense to promote each other’s brands. You might even want to consider offering your products together as a package or extending a discount for one product when the other is purchased. Sometimes cross-promotion might just mean handing out each other’s flyers or listing your partner on your website as an affiliate.
Meet People Individually
Although it’s great to network with people at events, you should also focus on building relationships with people. Networking events are good for establishing new connections and can give you a chance to catch up with people too, but you should make sure to develop relationships at other times too. Arranging to meet up with people individually, whether it’s for coffee or in a more formal setting, gives you the chance to get to know them better. You can form a more valuable business relationship when you spend time with people one-on-one.
Reconnect with People
Sometimes, it might be helpful to reconnect with people you knew in the past. This could include old colleagues, friends or acquaintances who might be valuable business connections. You might know some people who have started a business since you were last in touch with them or perhaps there’s someone who works for a business you would like to get in touch with. Reconnecting with people you once knew could help you make some good business contacts and could help you reconnect with friends too.
Try Some Useful Tools
If you want to grow your business network and get more involved with a community, you can find some useful tools for doing so. Social media is obviously useful, and LinkedIn and Twitter can be two of the best platforms for connecting with other entrepreneurs. You might also find it helpful to have a tool that makes it easier to schedule face-to-face meetings, such as Let’s Do Lunch, which you can connect to your LinkedIn profile.
Getting connected with a business community could be great for your business. You can choose to get involved in whatever way you feel is best.