We’ve recently talked about how to promote your business by promoting yourself, but have you thought about where to do this?
Well, the short answer is everywhere. You never know when a great networking opportunity may present itself, so you should always bear in mind that you are the face of your business. The long answer (aka, this blog post) is at small business networking events where you can meet others who are in your community and possibly in your industry. These events are often educational, but are valuable beyond that for building a network of people you can go to for advice, and who can recommend your business to people in their own networks.
So where can you find out about these small business networking events? Here are four great places to start:
1. Chamber of Commerce
Perhaps the least surprising on our list, your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource not only for education and advice, but also for hosting networking events that bring small business owners and community members together. Membership fees are different for every chamber, but Webs local chapter in Silver Spring, MD starts at $300/year for a sole proprietorship, and goes up incrementally depending on your number of employees.
Examples of upcoming events near Silver Spring: Business-After-Golf, Networking Breakfast, 2013 Awards and Installation Dinner.
2. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA.gov)
Another great locale for all things small business is SBA.gov. We’ve discussed the various online resources available here in a previous post, but another important element of this organization is their “Local Assistance” area. In this community section, you can browse all upcoming small business events, or search by your local community.
Examples of upcoming events near Silver Spring: National Women Contractors’ Week, Small Business Financing Forum, Q&A Luncheon with SBA Administrator Karen Mills.
You may know Meetup.com as a great place to find a running group, fellow salsa dancers, or people to go bungee jumping with. But did you know there are also lots of great small business Meetups? These communities are a wonderful resource for support and networking, and they are most often free or very inexpensive to join.
Small Business Meetups near Silver Spring: DC-MD Small Business Owner Networking, Shoestring StartUps, The Washington Photography Business Meetup, Smart Business Connects.
Most people are familiar with Eventbrite as a purchasing portal they are sent to in order to buy tickets online for a local event. But the service has also evolved to offer a database of events that is searchable by topic and location. This is a great way to find lots of local happenings without having to be plugged into the particular group that’s hosting them. Just key in “small business” and your location and see what’s coming up!
Upcoming SMB events near Silver Spring on Eventbrite: Small Business Mixer May 2013, Small Business Expo, 1st Annual Small Business Showcase, Small Business Summit and B2B Expo.
Now that you know how to promote your business as yourself, and where to network with community members, don’t forget to have some great promotional products to hand out when you go!
Let us know where you like to network with your community in the comments below.