June 16th, 2011 was an amazing day for me in that I firstly started what is now our “Squeeze Business Networking Group”. It has been a great help to the 4Networking Australia Business Community and also a great help to my business.
If you don’t know or are getting used to Networking (say if you are about to start your business or have just done so) – Business Networking is one very critical and important Small Business Marketing Strategy. Early game when you start a business (unless you have lots of money already), you generally have lots of time, no money and a lot of pressure on you to get your business to breakeven as soon as possible. Many business start-ups don’t work out because they don’t have the money or the dedication to survive this stage.
BUT the Awesome ones that do, make it and quite often – many (especially Professional Services such as Accountants, Solicitors, Coaches, Mentors, Website People etc) succeed originally through Face to Face Networking. That was exactly how I and many of my early clients and colleagues did it – and for me now, Online is becoming one great means of me getting new awesome clients and selling my Online Product The Awesome Marketing Vault.
Earlier in my business days and as 4Networking Australia was growing – I wanted to create my own night-time networking group. The original idea was to create a training event about Small Business Marketing. My original thinking was charge $20, have 2 x speakers and people will somehow hire me. This original group was called “Inside Biz” and it was hosted through the Meetup Platform.
This turned out to be a terrible idea and I found out very quickly I was wrong – my opening results were:
– No-one wanted to pay money.
– The speakers were boring and went on too long – and just sold their products from stage.
– Everyone wanted to Network.
The event was becoming a failure and in taking on the results, I immediately made it:
– Free and paid for it!
– Only 15 minutes for 1 x Speakers.
– Tons of Networking!
I then renamed it from “Inside Biz” to “Schmooze Business Networking”. This fellow from another state who claimed to have a group of a similar name threatened to sue me, so then I changed it to “Squeeze” maybe about 1.5 years ago! Now, it lives as the Awesome Squeeze Business Networking and it provides a great networking platform to help people make profitable connections and of course means to promote it. It has been coming to 3 years now of running Squeeze, every month without fail and I love it!
When you first start running a networking group, the numbers are always low but as you stay above 30 + people it has the critical mass to totally rock!
My advice and learning from all this? Networking Events (run properly) can be an amazing way of the organizer to promote themselves. There are good ones and bad ones around town, BUT done properly it’s one amazing Small Business Marketing Strategy! I have had plenty visit our event and try to copy it, so I am only too flattered by that experience. Starting off is always hard, but using tons of manual invites (say cards), heaps of Social Media and making it a great experience – you will set yourself up nicely for success.
Thank you for taking the time to read the story of “Squeeze” business Networking!
Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor who loves his Small Business Networking!