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Commercial networks: develop your business

As a small business owner, I am constantly looking for ways to network with other professionals and business owners in my area. I enjoy the interaction between entrepreneurs, inventors, owners, and business minded people. It is exciting indeed.

In my never-ending quest to meet others, I visit and participate in countless business networks and referral groups. One in particular led me to the whole idea; the group will remain nameless for obvious reasons. Maybe I’ve been sheltered, my favorite group meets at a local coffee shop and we have a very relaxed meeting and generally find a theme that suits the majority of the group. The “rules” are simple: introduce yourself. That’s all. We have the expectation that each person will buy their own coffee if they wish, but this does not belong to the group itself. This structure, or the lack of it, fits perfectly with my personality.

I recently visited a group and was almost overwhelmed. All the people who entered the room rushed over to me and introduced themselves, almost as if it were necessary. Later I found out that it was necessary; furthermore, any member of the group found guilty of not showing up was fined, as in the case of a monetary fine.

I obtained a copy of the bylaws for this particular group, although I understand the importance of structure, rules, regulations, and so on, the idea of ​​having a bylaws booklet longer than 35 pages struck me as a bit excessive.

I took it all in stride; I later found out that being a member of that group would cost almost $ 900 a year after quarterly membership dues, dues (other than membership dues), fines, and weekly breakfasts. This fact struck me as very strange, especially when the group’s mission statement includes making money for its members.

Have they protected me? The idea of ​​just sitting around a table with 6 other business leaders seems appealing to me.

More to come …

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