Membership in professional organizations offer a HUGE opportunity to network and build connections. Yes, you most likely pay a membership fee, but this is a necessary marketing expense as you build your business.
When researching organizations to join, think about the benefits you will receive from your membership. Sure, lots of organizations host monthly meetings, and in theory these are great networking opportunities. Uh oh, wait for it… I said “in theory” and here’s why: If you’re a member of an organization that hosts regularly scheduled live programming, you most likely need to arrive early or stay late to network. Does your schedule allow for this extra time, and are your fellow members hanging around as well? This is a big consideration as you use your limited resource of time.
If you’re not a member of any business organizations
…find three or so professional organizations you can join. These can be related to your industry, geographically-based, or they can be just for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Step outside of your comfort zone as you research, and give each organization a test drive. Attend a couple of events, meet some of the members, and look at their member profile. Then you will be able to make an educated decision to decide if that organization is a good fit for your needs. Don’t just spend the money to join without doing your homework!
If you are currently a member of an organization
…take a moment to assess your level of participation and your membership benefits before you automatically renew. Your needs may have changed since you originally joined. Evaluate your needs periodically to make sure your membership expenses are in line with your current needs.
When your financial resources are limited, you need to think big, but not so big that you’ll get lost in the crowd. Choose organizations that give you opportunities for exposure and education. Now here’s where the work comes in: take ACTION! Use those opportunities to maximize your membership dollars!