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How to find the right networking groups for your home-based business

Friday, 1 February 2013 | By Cas McCullough

When you work from home, chances are you are juggling many priorities: Sales, invoices, business meetings, stock, babies, ballet classes, partners and school lunches.


So, the prospect of dressing up and walking out the door to attend networking events may be a tad daunting at times and sometimes you walk away feeling like it was all a big waste of time.


So, how do you find the right networking groups for your home-based business?


Here are four tips to get you started:


1. Identify exactly who it is you’re trying to reach


Once you know who your target market is, you can narrow down the list of networking groups, both on and offline. It pays to focus on groups that attract your ideal clients.


2. Check out value-added services to see if they meet your needs


Many networking communities and membership programs offer additional services, discounts, information and training that may be helpful for your home-based business.


Many groups offer the same things, so look for the points of difference. Cheaper is not always better but neither is really expensive. Check out the blogs and social media profiles of groups to get a better feel for how responsive they are. Sometimes small and local is the optimal way to go.


3. Commit to interacting and responding to people within the group regularly


If you’re going to take the time to join a networking community, make sure you get the most out of it. When you commit to interacting on a regular basis it gives other business owners an opportunity to get to know you and what you have to offer without you having to sell to them.


4. Watch out for fortune hunters and zealots


Some networking communities are rife with fortune hunters and sometimes over-zealous network marketers. There’s nothing wrong with wanting wealth or being passionate about your business but if you get caught up in conversation with people who don’t really care about connecting with you, other than to convince you to jump on board their cause, then your time may be better spent with other business owners.


And if you are a network marketer or you really do feel like you’ve unlocked the secrets to wealth-creation, take a deep breath and understand that networking is a dance. You’ll reap more rewards by patiently building relationships and showing genuine interest in others rather than handing out your cards to all and sundry and trying to sell them on why your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread.


What’s been your experience with networking on and offline?