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Membership vs. Ad Hoc Networking? 

How to make the best business start to 2010
 
Networking, networking, networking – it’s all around us! It’s a long established word to literally “bring us all together” or to “make long term, mutually beneficial connections and relationships”.
 
Do you sometimes wish it would all just go away? Do you feel like you are being somewhat coerced to attend to keep “in with the in crowd”? Or do you feel that if you don’t participate then no one will remember you and you won’t grow your business let alone make any money from it?
 
For those of you who do network, what frequency or style of networking do you participate in? Do you have an annual membership to one or more groups or do you network on an ad hoc basis?
 
Having been involved in face to face networking since the birth of my business, it has proved to be a highly effective tool for marketing my services to a wider audience. Another benefit from networking has been the significant growth of my own personal and professional development. For me, networking is definitely NOT just about buying and selling; it is about growing, nurturing, sharing and helping.
 
Let’s take a look at membership vs. ad hoc networking
 
Membership Networking
 
Pros
  1. Gives you access to a vast amount of opportunities.
  2. Regular attendance demonstrates your commitment to getting to know people and to developing long term relationships.
  3. Promotes a system of positive referrals and recommendations to others within your group.
  4. Discounted services and benefits may apply
Cons
  1. High priced membership initial cost (average price £500 + per annum)
  2. Some groups don’t allow membership from those in the same industry
  3. May limit the expansion of your connections
  4. May develop a feeling of monotony
Ad Hoc Networking
 
Pros
  1. Gives you access to a vast amount of opportunities.
  2. You choose your level of commitment/frequency
  3. More flexible for cash flow particularly for start up businesses
  4. Wider marketing for your product, service and yourself
  5. Build positive associate connections with members of the same industry
  6. Offers variety
Cons
  1. Potential to take longer to engage and develop long term relationships

Face to face networking, at whatever frequency or style, is all about what works for you. You have the choice to do what you’re comfortable with, or to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. It’s about being true to yourself; don’t try to be or become someone you’re not.

Remember, you get to choose WHO you do business with!
 
Written by Gail Gibson of True Expressions
Discovery, Change, Transformation
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