Many successful businesses are able to develop a good connection with their local community and networking is often an integral part of being able to develop a flourishing business that enjoys a strong local reputation.
Making that connection
Meeting and greeting is part of what a successful business owner will do on a frequent basis and you should be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to be able to network and connect with people.
Providing an element of support for your local community through your business is a prime example of how you can develop some strong connections which go beyond just trying to advertise and promote your firm.
A number of local business owners will often be involved with a local chamber of commerce or business networking club but there are also chances to make a difference in your community and network successfully at the same time.
If you have a passion for sports for example, you might decide to offer some sponsorship to a local team, on a junior or amateur level, by perhaps paying for their sports kit or offering to host some events to raise money for them.
Planning an event
Your objective when planning a community based event should include the desire to make a positive contribution in some way to your local neighborhood and also gain some useful exposure for your business in return.
The local press will often cover events going on in their area so for example, you might decide to sponsor a special day out for some deserving local people in the community, using someone like American Limos to organize a memorable trip that puts a smile on everyone’s face and promotes your business in a very positive way.
There are so many different ways and events that you can plan in order to combine the ability to network and raise your business profile within your local community.
Hosting an event
If you have decided to host an event, your primary should always be to try and put on an effective and engaging entertainment event first and foremost, and allow the networking opportunities and positive feedback to take of themselves after that.
You might decide to hold an event at your office or retail premises so that you can improve the odds of giving your business some decent exposure in return for your hosting efforts.
Although this is not a bad idea at all, it is important that you do not attempt to distract from the main purpose of the event with a series of speeches or presentations which instantly give the event a more corporate feel and might spoil the atmosphere if overdone.
Make the most of chance to network
There is nothing wrong with wanting to get some sort of value for money out of hosting an event and that means you will want to try and make some new contacts or customers if the chance presents itself to do so.
There are subtle ways in which you can gather this information without making it seem like that is your sole purpose for hosting an event.
Asking people to sign in or register their contact details including an email address, when they arrive is one way of doing this and simply making yourself visible and networking on the day, so that anyone can approach you and engage in a conversation, all help you get the most out of your event.
Best chance of success
Anyone who is planning an event wants it to be a resounding success and in order to achieve this goal, you will not only need to devote some resources to planning it properly but you need to allow enough time to get it done.
Your best chance of success with your event is to make sure that you allow at least eight weeks from planning to the event itself as a minimum.
This gives you the amount of time needed to publicize the event, send out and manage invitations and of course, plan and arrange the event itself so that everything goes smoothly on the day.
Far too many events end up falling a bit flat or not meeting initial expectations because there has been a lack of attention to detail beforehand or there was simply not enough time between forming the original idea and the event itself, which often shows on the day.
Unforgettable local networking events can be a great way of growing your business and putting something back into the community at the same time, so make sure you plan ahead to get the most out of your investment of time and money.
Robert Scott Singleton runs his own business and has first-hand experience of what it takes to develop a business through successful networking initiatives. He enjoys being able to share his passion for business with an online audience and writes regularly for a number of websites aimed at the business community.