Being self-employed or owning a business requires networking skills. After all, businesses don’t grow themselves: people grow businesses. I have recently moved back to Springfield, Missouri after leaving in 2003, and one of the biggest obstacles I have experienced has been my lack of network here in 417 land. I lived in Malaysia for the better part of 10 years, and I recently went back for a of couple days. During that time, I found myself swamped with people to meet and things to do in terms of business. Very little sleep was had during my brief stay, but it didn’t bother me (I like the feeling of moving forward).
Coming back to Springfield, starting fresh and not knowing anyone has been difficult, but luckily I brought some of the same skills with me from SE Asia. One of the first things I started doing when I landed was to get in touch with and visit networking groups here in the heart of Springfield. Because I am starting a business, it may seem viable to only join entrepreneur and business circles, but I have found this to be far from the truth. It doesn’t matter if you join a business or social circle, what matters for your business is meeting people. You never know how you may be able to support someone who has no relevance to your industry, and or vice versa.
For example, when I first moved to Malaysia back in 2006, I joined a dance class. The dance was salsa, and I was honestly terrible at it (who am I kidding, I still am awful at it). Over time, I not only got a little better at being led by my partner, but I also made a few friends: many of whom became clients later on. I didn’t go to the dance classes in order to sell my products and services to the people there, I went to have fun and to work on my eye – foot coordination.
Over time, I made several friends who, as all friends do, started asking me about my profession. Without the intention of selling anything, I began gaining more and more clients. This is why networking is so powerful: everyone knows you and knows what you do. And if you have friends, people will recommend your services over other companies.
One really great thing about living in Springfield, Missouri is the networking opportunities that are available. Whether you frequent meetup.com, are a member of the Chamber of Commerce or are just “in-the-know” with local happenings, there is always something happening in Springfield, Missouri. But if you are looking specifically for referrals, business contacts and the like, below is a list of a few of the business networking groups in Springfield, Missouri.
Business Networking Groups in Springfield, Missouri
The Chamber of Commerce is a network of potential clients, knowledgeable peers and community partners who focus on growth, networking, taking action and stimulating the local economy. The price varies, but if you become a general member, it is around $473.
Masterminds of Biz is a professional networking group in Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding areas. They offer businesses the opportunity to grow through networking with other local businesses, and the membership fee is quite affordable.
BNI is the world’s largest business networking and referral organization. Though there are membership fees, it is one organization that really supports businesses in growing exponentially. There are several BNI Chapters in Springfield, be sure to go here, scroll down and find one that suits your needs.
Hosting regularly occurring events, the 6 Figure Success Club is a networking group that brings in different speakers to cover different topics at the Bank of Missouri on Kansas Expressway. Each talk is a small fee, and they encourage everyone to bring their business cards for the purposes of networking.
417 Professionals is a networking group of business professionals in the Springfield, Missouri metropolitan area. They meet every Wednesday and you must apply in order to become a member.
This is more of a resource center than a networking group, providing industry-specific networking groups and information in the greater Springfield area.
Ace is a business networking group dedicated to sharing business opportunities so that all may prosper. However, joining is restricted to one business per niche. They also have a yearly membership fee.
Granted, I may have missed out on a business circle or two, and if I did feel free to put the networking information in the comment section below.
Remember, if you are going to a networking event, keep in mind the following:
- Know what it is you are looking for (because people will ask what support you need in your business);
- Be of service to others;
- Ask open-ended questions;
- If you see someone standing alone, go and talk to them (you may just become a best friend for life to them seeing as you saved them from staring at their phone all night feeling awkward);
- Be interested in other people and their respective business…genuinely People can tell if you are faking it.
Wishing you success in all your endeavors!
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