Unless you are engaged exclusively in an e-commerce business, it is critical that as an entrepreneur you develop a solid network to learn as much as possible what others are doing, and lead to referrals and growth in your revenues. I have found that one of the best ways of facilitating this is via Meetup, the world's largest network of local groups.
"Find Your People"
Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up. I have used it to find out about countless meetings of interest in my local area. It has enabled me to learn about meetings discussing all kinds of new technologies and to meet a very large number of people that I have engaged with and utilized as suppliers, joint venture partners, and for other activities. Before the emergence of Meetup similar results were very difficult to achieve.
Furthermore, I have organized a number of groups on Meetup to promote organizations that I am either in charge of, or as a member, I want to further publicize to like-minded people. If a person elects to join your group you then have the ability to email updates and event announcements to them, if they so elect.Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. Joining Meetup and participating in meetings helps build your network. @JeffSheehan Click To Tweet
One of my greatest success stories in this area has been with my Toastmasters group where we’ve seen a huge increase in new attendees and subsequent memberships.
Create a Robust Profile
As an entrepreneur, I would highly suggest that you join and explore Meetup for meetings of interest. More importantly, please make sure that you create a robust profile on it as well. You’d be shocked at the number of people who simply join and don’t create a profile for themselves. Many fail to upload their photos or add any descriptions whatsoever.
They’re missing out on another excellent online branding opportunity and negatively impacting their credibility due to the lack of one. When people see that you’re attending a meeting and there’s nothing in your profile, their impression of you is immediately negative.
Also, once you join and have set up a profile, make sure that your profile is clearly reflected in the meeting that you will attending and that you have answered any questions that the moderator has asked about why you have elected to attend, etc. This increases your visibility and credibility among others that are attending the meeting.
Make the Most of Meetup
Don’t forget to use Meetup strategically. Prior to going to a meeting, determine who you might want to connect with. The names and profiles of those who will be attending are shown on the meeting announcement. Focus in on these people. Learn as much as you can and make it a point to sit near them, if at all possible. After all, you’re taking time out of your busy schedule to attend the networking meeting and are most likely spending some money traveling to it, or on coffee or food, so make the most of it.
With Meetup, as with every other networking meeting you attend, don’t forget to develop a mindset of who can you possibly help with their business. Target these individuals, as well, and see if you can be of assistance to them. They will be forever grateful.
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and challenging. Joining Meetup and participating in some of the meetings can go a long way in helping you network with others and provide you with a wide range of sessions that will enable you to remain at the top of your gain and mitigate some of the difficulties that continue to confront you.
Photo via MorgueFile