How do you decide how much and where to network? Every person and business is different. Here are some thoughts for Growth Nation, where we target clients who are typically small business owners for companies in technology, manufacturing or service businesses.
The number one way we get new clients at Growth Nation is by direct referral. Thank you to our customers for a great 2008 and our continued growth through these turbulent times.
The second most popular way for us to connect with new clients is via networking. I just estimated the amount of time I’ll spend in 2008 on networking in the community, and I found a large number of hours were spend to attend events, participate in board/committee meetings and meet people one-on-one.
For me, I spend an average of 12 hour per week networking as compared to about 60 hours per week ‘working’. I wonder if that 1:5 ratio of networking to work is a good one? It feels OK, but it makes for a busy week!
Over 50% of my networking time is spent in my 4 core business groups: AZIGG, Enterprise Network, Invest Southwest and ASBA. Here’s a complete list of groups that I’m part of:
Boards & Executive Committees:
• Arizona International Growth Group (www.azigg.com)
• Arizona Small Business Association (www.asba.com)
• Enterprise Network (www.en.org)
• Invest Southwest (www.investsouthwest.org)
• U of Utah Alumni (www.alumni.utah.edu/chapters/arizona)
• World Affairs Council of Arizona (www.wacaz.org)
Other Community Activities:
• Arizona Technology Council (www.aztechcouncil.com)
• Arizona Chamber of Commerce (www.azchamber.com)
• Greater Phoenix SCORE (www.scorephoenix.org)
• The John Adam Show (www.thejohnadamshow.com)
• Nat’l Assoc of Women Biz Owners (www.nawbophx.org)
• Greater Phoenix Economic Council (www.gpec.org)
• Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations (www.pcfraz.org)
• Michigan State Alumni (www.azspartans.org)
• American Marketing Association (www.amaphoenix.org)
• Phoenix Sister Cities (www.phoenixsistercities.org)
• Scottsdale Chamber (www.scottsdalechamber.com)
• Phoenix Chamber – Green (www.phoenixchamber.com)
• TiE-Arizona (www.tie-az.org)
• AeA Arizona (www.aeanet.org)
• Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock (www.solidrockteencenter.com)
• Campaign to Make Poverty History (www.one.org)
• Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.nationalmssociety.org)
• Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org)
Between now and the end of the year, I’ll reassess how I’ll spend time in 2009. I’m thinking about adding the new Green Chamber and Arizona Business Leadership. I’m thinking about bumping up involvement in TiE-Arizona and NAWBO, too. I’d like to attend a few more ambassador meetings for the AZ Tech Council in 2009 and find a way to be more involved with GPEC.
Several groups like AMA, Scottsdale Chamber and Phoenix Chamber are on the current list because I’d like to spend more time there but don’t have the time. Attending a meeting every 6 months hardly counts as involvement, does it? I’m not sure these will change in 2009.
On the time reduction side, I’ve resigned from the Scottsdale Job Network board. For Invest Southwest, I may back away on the time and be a dollar sponsor instead next year. Oh TIME – we have so little of thee.
I’ll also be working to hand off the position of president for the Arizona University of Utah alumni association. It’s been fun to work with the current board in re-starting the chapter. We’ve had some wonderful events – like presentations at Tgen by the Brain Institute from the University of Utah, Spring Training events with the Utah-alumnus led Colorado Rockies, a visit by President Michael Young, and this week the undefeated football season culminating in beating arch-rival BYU. Oh the joy! But it’s all about time, and it’s time to hand-off to a deserving younger man or woman to take on the next phase of growth.
For Growth Nation our team has expansion plans for Salt Lake City and San Diego, and so those cities must be considered, too. Lots to think about!
I am blessed with all the people I’ve met these past few years and I’m looking forward to continuing to expand my personal network and the network of my team. My friends and acquaintances have provided me the cornerstones for successfully starting and growing Growth Nation and AZIGG. I wish I could do networking full time, but there is work to do ;-).
My advice to anyone who is starting a business or looking for a job is to get out and connect with people. Pick the groups that mean something to you, volunteer and show people what you can do. There’s no better way to start lasting relationships. Enjoy networking and all the benefits it brings.
Growth Nation and AZIGG