Business Networking Groups
Networking groups can help you take a more formal and constructive approach to your professional networking efforts
Who should listen: Motivated business owners who want to build connections with other entrepreneurs to collaborate, give and receive experienced advice, and exchange leads and referrals.
Key idea: Membership in a networking group is about giving assistance as much as, if not more than, receiving assistance.
Action item: Join or create a networking group.
In this episode of Stay Paid, Bruce Weinstein talks with us about how professional networking groups helped him nurture existing relationships from his first business and build new ones to successfully start and run the insurance business he and his wife own today.
After 30 years as a financial advisor and building a $100,000,000 book of business, Bruce sold his financial services practice in 2016. Unable to solicit former clients, he and his wife embarked on a journey to start a new insurance business in 2020.
In the years between 2016 and 2020, Bruce realized that what he most enjoyed about his work was educating and helping people solve problems. His new insurance business gave him that opportunity, but he also realized that he could educate and help even more people, and benefit from his efforts, by forming a professional networking group.
What is a professional networking group?
There are various types of networking groups, but the type that appealed to Bruce were networks of strong contacts, where the relationships were more intimate, and people knew each other. For Bruce, the advantage to the group he formed is the membership gets to know, like, and trust each other more easily. The people who belong to these groups are intent on helping each other grow their businesses, helping new entrepreneurs find their footing, and offering referrals to one another. But, as you might expect, groups reflect the strengths and preferences of their founders.
As mentioned above, groups can be structured and managed in a variety of ways, but a group generally starts with a critical mass of business associates, colleagues, clients, and friends who then invite others from their spheres until the desired size is achieved. From there, groups can differ.
As an example, Bruce’s group restricts membership to one person per industry so that no one needs to feel that they have to withhold ideas or questions for fear of divulging their vulnerabilities to competitors. Another membership rule requires that if someone is not accepted into the group, then the member who nominated that person is asked to leave the group. That may sound harsh, but it ensures that each open seat is valued and that the caliber of expertise and commitment to the group’s mission remains intact.
Some groups meet monthly, while others will meet more frequently. Some will have attendance requirements. There are often membership requirements and procedures for nominating new members. Most require an initial payment and dues.
Popular professional network groups
On a national scale, these professional networking groups are well-organized, with franchises available on the local level. Among them are:
Each group will appeal to a different type of businessperson. Entrance into any of them is likely to be highly competitive, especially for real estate agents and financial advisors since nearly every group will already have at least one representative from their industries. But fear not—you can start your own group with the support of the national organization of which you want to be a part.
The benefits of membership
Joining a professional networking group isn’t just about meeting people from different industries. It’s also about being able to ask questions of, pose problems to, and receive input from people with perspectives that are likely to be different from your own. No one has a monopoly on ideas, and you learn the most when you are not the smartest person in the room.
Being associated with experts of a community committed to growing their businesses is also powerful. It pushes you to be better.
You also receive the benefit of referrals. Members are there to help one another not only with ideas and issues but also with new clients when appropriate.
Listen to Bruce’s interview, and hear more about his experience with networking groups, how to possibly join a group, what to do once you are a member, and more. When you’re done, we’d appreciate it if you would give us a 5-star rating and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. (Not sure how to leave a review? Click here.)
Connect | Resources
- Weinstein Wealth Insurance Solutions https://www.weinsteinwealth.com/
- 1-844-PlanMan (1-844-752-6626)
- For a digital business card, text PlanMan to 2-1000.
- Watch for Bruce’s podcast, Ask the Plan Man, coming soon.