In the 13 years that I’ve been in business, I’ve attended and hosted many networking events, as well as been involved in several types of small business and creative groups.

Since I’m a working mom and my “spare time” (I use the term loosely) is limited, I choose my business groups wisely, focusing on those that provide value to my business, whether it’s a job lead or a new idea.

Things to consider before joining a business group

  • Members: Are the group’s members in your industry or target market? Are they like-minded individuals?
  • Value: Will the connections you make provide value to your business? Can you justify the time spent away from your office, family, etc?
  • Time commitment: With your current responsibilities, can you commit to a group who meets weekly? Or is monthly or quarterly more doable?
  • Networking opportunities: Does the group offer a way for members to stay connected, both online and offline? (in-person events, active Facebook group or email list)
  • Cost: Is the group free or are there monthly dues? Are the benefits provided (special events, workshops, speakers) worth the cost?

Sometimes it helps to make a list of prospective groups, along with their benefits and monthly dues, before committing to any of them.

The types of business groups

A quick Google search of your industry and networking groups can provide ideas, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Local business or neighborhood organization
  • Leads group
  • Monthly networking group
  • Trade organization (local and national)
  • Meetup group
  • National small business organization

Or…make your own group

Not finding a group that clicks with you? Create your own small business group. See my previous post with tips for starting a creative group.

As small business owners, time is our most precious resource, so choose a group that resonates with you and provides value, whether through referrals, business support or inspiration. Lastly, you really do get what you give, so choose a group that you can invest in. Take the time to get to know your fellow members, share your own knowledge, and you will reap the rewards