Lately there seems to be a lot of talk about how to get your business known and how to find clients. Since September is rolling around before we know it, this might be an opportune time to address networking.
Networking is such a vital part of growing a business, especially a VA business. So what is networking, how and where do you start?
First and foremost, networking is about building relationships. Think about it for a minute. If you were looking for someone to fix your computer or do some work in your home, where would you look? Would you go through the Yellow Pages and then hope that you found someone reliable, who knew their stuff and was the best person to handle your needs? Would you really trust someone that you didn’t really know?
This is what networking is all about. You need to get out there and get yourself known. Once people get to know you and your business then it is easy for them to refer you to others. Why? Because, they have built trust and a relationship with you. They know what type of person you are and what your work ethics are by how you present yourself. This works online and in person.
Now where do you go to network, what groups can I possibly look at and where do you find them?
Here is a few to get you started both online and off:
The York Business Exchange (YBE) www.ybe.ca
Business Owners Idea Café www.businessownersideacafe.com
The Leapfrog Network www.leapfrognetwork.com
BNI Canada www.bnicanada.ca
eWomen Network www.ewomennetwork.com
Canadian Women’s Business Network www.cdnbizwomen.com
Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs www.cawee.net
Business Women’s Networking Association http://www.bwna.biz
Women Entrepreneurs of Canada www.wec.ca
Small Business Forum www.small-business-forum.com
Company of Women www.companyofwomen.ca
Wings Canada www.wingscanada.com
Ryze Business Networking www.ryze.com
Linked In www.linkedin.com
International Association of Administrative Professionals www.iaap-hq.org
Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection www.cvac.ca
Canadian Virtual Assistant’s Network www.canadianva.net
Virtual Assistant’s Networking Forum www.vanetworking.com
Women In A Home Office www.womeninahomeoffice.com
Canadian Federation of Independent Business www.cfib.ca
SOHO Business Group www.soho.ca Business Innovation Group (BIG) www.bignetworking.ca
Business Partnerships http://businesspartnerships.ca
Business Networks http://businesspartnerships.ca
For other groups, events, meetings and times check out this fabulous website by Jennifer Beale – the Queen of Network. You can even sign up to have meeting and events come right into your mailbox:
Remember that networking is an ongoing investment in your business. Think of it as courting your potential clients, it doesn’t happen overnight, it does take time but what lasting relationship doesn’t! Happy networking!