Is it Worth Your Time to Network?

Is it Worth Your Time to Network?

Whether you have an existing business or a brand new one, getting your face into the public eye is crucial. There are several ways to do this. The first is through social media. But you cannot just light up a Facebook page and expect business to come in. You need to develop an audience. This could take up to 4-6 months to get enough eyeballs to make Facebook a successful business tool.

Another option would be to network with other businesses, developing strategic alliances. As a former president of the Baltimore Videographers Association, I was amazed that not one of the 50-plus members did any networking. I spent a lot of time educating them about how important networking was to help grow their business.

I have been networking since 1997. When I first started my company, I joined the Annapolis chamber. I was then introduced to BNI (Business Network International). BNI is the only form of marketing that I still do since I first started my business, because it works.

There are several reasons why I have been in BNI for 13 years.
1. It is a dues-paying organization. Since I am putting up marketing dollars, there is more at stake. I will put the time in to make sure it is money well spent.
2. There is accountability. Attendance is taken and what you give to the group is tracked. The BNI philosophy is that givers gain.
3. It gives me visibility, which gives me credibility, which leads to profitability.

My chapter currently has 46 members. Because it is a weekly meeting, members develop strong relationships very quickly. The members look out for one another. It is like having a sales force of 46 people looking for potential work for one another.

On average, I personally receive 12 – 20 video jobs per year from the chapter. As a videographer, this is a large amount of income as video production costs are typically a high dollar sale.

If there is not a BNI chapter in your town, join a chamber, a rotary club or start a local monthly or weekly meeting where business professionals meet. I am sure it will be worth your time and energy.

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Jeff is the founder of In Focus Studios. The company has serviced Maryland, DC, Virginia and North Carolina since 1999. Jeff began his video career by videotaping weddings, but was quickly introduced to the world of corporate video production. Since then he has produced marketing videos, medical videos and webcasts. He also works with athletes from Baltimore, Washington DC and Raleigh, NC. He is a fan of 80’s music videos. He enjoys all aspects of video production, including lighting, directing and editing.

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