Networking

Why do we need to network?

We all need to network because word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing. It is so because it mostly occurs between people who have a pre-established trust relationship.

It is therefore important for us, as small business owners, to network in order to build more awareness and trust about ourselves and our products and services.

How to network?

There are many networking groups in Ottawa (as in most Canadian cities), and they come in all shapes and forms:

  • some are paid, and others are free, from a membership standpoint,
  • some are structured, and others are not,
  • some are international, and others are local.

The paid membership networking groups

The paid networking groups are usually structured, not to say overly structured:

  • they have a board and several committees (membership committee, marketing committee, training committee, etc.),
  • they have several chapters in the same city,
  • the chapters (usually) gather weekly,
  • they follow a strict agenda,
  • you cannot miss more than a given number of meetings in a period,
  • you cannot be late to the meetings nor leave them early,
  • you cannot, in the same group, have more than one member in the same category/sub-category,
  • you cannot be in a category/sub-category unless you work full-time in it,
  • you cannot belong to more than one chapter,
  • you must perform by giving out a certain number of referrals in a period, etc.,
  • the board and the committees report on the performance of the group, generally at an aggregate level,

etc.

Membership can cost up to $800 per year, on top of which you must add the cost of the breakfasts, lunches or suppers, depending on the time of the meetings.

The free membership networking groups

The free networking groups are usually less structured than their paid counterparts. And you have very few obligations, if any at all.

Of course, you still have to bear the cost of the breakfasts, lunches or suppers, as appropriate.

Choosing our network(s)

One of the factors that will inevitably guide our choice of networks is the cost of entry. If we consider a network that costs $800 in membership dues, on top of which we add $10-$15 per week in food, we are looking at $1,300-$1,550 per year.

But there is more to it than just the money. What we can expect to get in terms of return is proportional to the investment we make, not in money, but in time. Word of mouth marketing is based on trust, trust takes time to build, so we need to invest time. And, depending on the cost of the products and services that we offer, it may take several months before we even make our first sale!

Advertise in Ottawa’s networking group

Membership in Advertise in Ottawa’s group is free, in every sense of the word. There are no membership fees, no papers to be signed, no commitments of any sort.

We meet monthly.

All we pay for is our breakfast, lunch, or supper. So, assuming that we attend every meeting, and that we spend $20-$25 at each, we are looking at $240-$300 per year. That leaves us some money to invest in advertising.

If you are interested in investing some of your time with us to grow your business, please contact us!

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