The thought of going to a networking meeting will bring many people to tears, and it is true they are not for everyone. I would say that you really should give it a go.
I was really nervous to attend my very first networking meeting, thinking that it wasn't for me, how would it benefit my business. Really was not sure how it would be of value for me and my business.
I would recommend doing a bit of research in your local area to find out what meetings you could attend. Look at the costs involved and the content and structure of the meetings. It is also important to think about who your ideal clients are and choose the best suited groups and meetings.
If you are a nail technician I would look at meetings that are mainly targeting women, as they will be your target clients. A massage therapist specialising in back pain could do very well from meetings that are attended by both men and women. Hairdressers working mainly on ladies hair probably want to attend women's networking events but barbers would need to go to men's events. However don't just think about these events as places to gain clients, they are often very informative and helpful for all aspects of your business.
My first networking event was in my local town, I chose a women only event run by my local WiRE network. I loved the relaxed atmosphere, everyone was friendly and welcoming. There was no hard sell, the meeting was informative, but still allowed time for making business connections too. I have now been attending WiRE meetings for several years and I am also a member. The group has benefited me in so many ways, helping me to be more confident about my business and my skills. I have learnt so many things too including presentations skills, planning, PR, and so much more. I have made lots of friends and of course made many business acquaintances. A WiRE membership also gains you lots of other benefits via the national website including visiting other meetings outside of your regular meeting, the chance to publish blogs and articles online etc. I have been to other networking meetings but have always come back to WiRE as they suit me and my business best.
In my experience Beauty and Holistic Therapists, Nail Technicians and Hair dressers are not often in attendance in my local networking events. This is definitely opportunity that is being missed, all I would say is don't go to meetings with the view of getting lots of new bookings. You need to go with an open mind, talk to people, learn from others and build relationships. Building Know, Like and Trust within your business will reap rewards in the future.
I would love to hear about your experiences at networking events.
Find out more about WiRE here!