As they say, there is no place like home. This is especially true if you are in the event industry!
Whether you are trying your hand at national speaking engagements, you are thinking of joining an international association, or you simply just want to boost your efforts at home, it is important never to forget your roots and where you came from. Chances are that it was your hometown network that boosted you to the position you are in today, so remember to keep yourself grounded with the people who know you best.
As if this weren’t enough, don’t forget that a local network is a powerful way to grow your business through referrals, and it never hurts to have a support system of people who get your regional market. Here are some great ways to stay involved, no matter what level your business is on.
1. Show up!
The very best way to keep yourself on the local radar is simply to show up at networking events and stay active in the industry.
In some cases, you may not be able to attend each and every event, but keeping in touch with industry peers via social media and emails is a great way to show how much you care. Plus, you might find new business opportunities that arise within your market that you would not have known about otherwise!
Help others with favors that they may need, and you’ll be happy to have a place to go when you need a favor of your own.
2. Spread the wealth.
I don’t need to tell you the importance of vendor referrals, as I am sure you have experienced the excitement of hearing “so-and-so told me you were great!” With that in mind, do not forget to share referrals for your peers as well--it is a thoughtful gesture that will certainly be returned to you down the line. Mutually beneficial relationships are the key to a strong and effective network.
3. Donate your time.
Collaboration is what keeps a network strong, and there is no better way than to get involved in your local association chapter. WIPA, NACE, ILEA, ABC and Wedding Network USA are just a few to check out, but your peers will know best about what is available in your community.
Reach out to the program coordinators to see where they need help--you might be able to donate your products or services to the next event, or perhaps you can contribute your time to promoting membership.
When it comes down to it, your presence and commitment are the most important assets to build a strong network in your local market. Rest assured that your efforts will be well worth it for the future of your business.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, Calif. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE and the immediate national president for WIPA.