Have you ever walked around the historic cemetery in your town? It may sound morbid but quite often these old cemeteries are full of big old trees. They have established landscaping and they often (unless they are ancient and neglected cemeteries) have groundskeepers or volunteers who keep things looking nice. We have a great old Masonic cemetery in our town and it’s on a hillside, so it’s a popular place for people who want to get in an active hike or run, or just find a quiet corner to sit and contemplate.
The people who are buried in this cemetery are our town’s founding families. They were churchgoers and they were Masons. Nearly to a person, based on the history that is known, these were successful, well-off families who were involved in local government, business and education. Why were they successful? In part it’s because they kept their business partners close. If a home needed plumbing and a plumber was a Mason, that plumber got the business. If a congregation member was a doctor, that doctor pulled the teeth and attended the childbirth. In return, that doctor or plumber’s business stayed in the group as well.
Whenever you join a group, be it Masons, a church congregation, your city’s Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or any other philanthropic or educational organization, there’s a certain amount of networking that goes on. For the most part, these groups exist to look after the community and each other. Why not put that power of the group to work for your business?
Industry-specific trade groups perform a similar function, although for most small business a local group will provide the most benefit. Take care not to overdue the networking. We’ve written an article about good networking…I think I’ll write an article abut bad networking as well! Bad networking would be passing out a business card to every person in the room every time you show up to a meeting. Never remembering someone’s name. Focusing too much on the free food and drink at the meeting. Just as examples.
Avoid bad networking and put the power of the group to work for your business. If you’re a carpet cleaner, there’s a chance you might get the next deal. If you operate a food cart, there’s a chance you could set up shop in front of your fellow member’s business.