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How to Start Your Professional Networking Group
Quest WorkspacesMay 1, 2024 12:38:01 PM3 min read

How to Start Your Professional Networking Group

When you own a small business, referrals are your bread and butter. The more strategies you can employ to make sure you're constantly building valuable connections, the stronger your business will grow. While building a solid history of excellent customer service and past projects will get you more and more referrals over time, starting your own professional networking group will help you speed up that business growth. 



If you've never started a professional networking group before, start with these six steps.


1. Determine your objectives and audience

Every networking group has a slightly different objective, even if the goal is to grow the members' businesses. These goals might include:

  • Getting advice and mentorship
  • Finding new employees or markets
  • Improving overall networking skills
  • Building professional relationships
  • Getting referrals

Depending on your needs, you might have one objective, or several. Zero in on exactly what outcomes you want to achieve or make progress toward. This will also help you determine your audience—are you looking for professional contacts in businesses adjacent to yours (referrals), or are you looking for business contacts with similar ESG goals and community projects (building a network)?


2. Reach out to a small group at first

After you establish the goals and ideal members, create an introductory event and online resources so you can share details about your group. If you work in a coworking space, this is the ideal environment for finding prospective members and posting physical or online flyers. Reach out to business networks you already have or people who have already voiced interest so you can ensure the start has the best chance of success.


3. Organize events that provide value

Most of your professional contacts won't have time to waste on events and meetings that don't provide business value. So start brainstorming the types of events most likely to get their attention. This can include speed-networking events and workshops. Alternatively, make the meetings more enjoyable, such as Happy Hour events, breakfast meetings, or lunches. The first few events are about making sure people both (i) want to come back and (ii) spread the word to other people.

Planning events can be tricky, and you want to balance pizzazz with convenience. Again, if you have a coworking space membership, then you already have a couple of easy solutions. For example, you can hold round table conversations in the on-premises conference room, which makes it much easier for people to commit to coming. Hospitality-driven coworking spaces will also have plenty of resources for food, drinks, and other amenities, which makes the event much more appealing.


4. Be receptive to feedback

As you hold your first few events and meetings, eagerly accept (and ask for!) feedback. This is your core group of attendees—be willing to bend things in their direction if it doesn't defeat your core objectives. Also, by actively incorporating their feedback, you're increasing their buy-in. They'll be much more likely to stay as a member and bring in people.


5. Start scheduling regular meetings

Once you have traction, don't let it go. It's just the same as with your client base or referral network—you want to keep them actively engaged and keep yourself top of mind. The best way to do that is to host regular meetings with a predictable format, venue, and duration. Meeting once every other week is a great baseline, but weekly meetings are even better for continual engagement. Schedule your meeting at the same place, especially if you have convenient common ground.


6. Grow the group

You have the foundation: a goal, a group, set meetings, and one or two tried-and-true venues for advertising and hosting. Now, it's time to focus on growth. Continually encourage members to bring in new people and advertise your group to fill in key roles. A good best practice is to make sure you don't have repeating roles (for example, have one plumber, one business accountant, and one insurance agent to maximize the value each professional receives), has a relatively strict attendance principle, and has clearly membership goals over time.


Get Everything You Need to Start Your Professional Networking Group with Quest Workspaces

When you're building your strategy and your group, find partners and services that can make it easy to succeed. Quest Workspaces offers what you need to find professional contacts, publicize your meetings and events, and even host your regular meetings and bigger events. 

Contact us today to start organizing your first meetings and find the right location from our New York City, Broward, Miami, Tampa, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach locations.


Quest Workspaces

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