Get the Most For Your Networking Dollar

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ROI is in the mind of every business owner. Knowing where to spend your hard earned dollars can be a confusing task. It is important to participate in as many networking functions as you are able to attend.  Staying front of mind, and in this case, front of face, will garner you more business opportunities.  The less you are seen, the more vulnerable you are to fade into the woodwork.  Be sure to share any new information about your business.  If you can, take advantage of bringing other professional contacts into the group.  You are building relationships with other nearby business men and women as well as expanding your referral opportunities even further. Another item that comes with the end of the year is tax time.  Consider this… you may have heard the saying, “it pays to have connections”. The same holds true for your networking outlets.  There are actually many networking related write-offs that you might want to pay attention to. These range from business gifts sent to clients, trade-show attendance and dues for professional associations (such as PRE!) Events that qualify as continuing education to maintain or improve your skills in the profession also count.  (See a list below of more tax deductible items you may be able to take advantage of).  Keep in mind anything that may be business related and as always discuss these items with your accountant.  The tax laws change constantly, but you may be pleasantly surprised at what you can find out.  Some examples that may shock you include a wine shop owner who deducted his surgery to improve his sense of smell, junk yard owners who deducted the cost & care of a cat (to ward off nasty creatures as pest control) or a guard dog. Here’s a list of some more things that may spark an idea!  Legal and consultancy fees, Marketing expenses, Bad debt or theft,  Loan interest,  Interest payments on a business credit card, internet service fees, parking, postage, office furniture & supplies, insurances, local business taxes & fees, business licenses & permits, bank service charges, auto expenses/gas mileage, home office deductions, first year expense deductions, rent, phones, utilities, entertainment, gifts, travel, etc.

PRE – Professional Referral Exchange

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Why join a networking group? Here’s a great example and explanation of why to B2B.

Benefits Of Membership

Why Join a Business Networking Group?

Thank you for your interest in joining Professional Referral Exchange! Please keep in mind these benefits of becoming a member:
  • Be the only person in your business category in your Chapter.
  • Have the opportunity to receive “qualified” business referrals to expand your customer base and generate more business.
  • Connect with fellow members who aggressively act as a sales force for your business and are committed to helping you succeed.
  • Follow a proven structured weekly meeting agenda to improve your opportunities to generate business.
  • Present information about your business each week to enhance “word of mouth” advertising.
  • Have the ability to refer business to and receive business from professionals you know, like and trust.
  • Access a business potential of 250+ people times the number of members in your Chapter.
  • Develop long term friendships and experience the satisfaction that comes from helping other people.
  • Recognize opportunities to act as a resource for your clients and associates.
  • Get greater exposure for your business as more people join your Chapter.
  • Be supported by an Advisory Board of experienced PRE Members who evaluate ideas for overall organization development and effectiveness.
  • Receive a monthly newsletter from your Chapter that tallies referrals, shares articles and communicates information.
  • Participate in personal development sessions on effective networking techniques to improve your abilities.
  • Gain insights and tips from Business professionals in your Chapter that help you manage your business more effectively.
  • Have your business listed on PRE’s World Wide Web site.

Top Questions To Ask (and know) at Your Next Networking Function

Business people hand shake
Networking is about developing and maintaining good relationships.  It takes some planning and effort on your part.  Asking the right questions will provide you with an opportunity to get to know a person.  Don’t know what to ask… here are some questions to get you started.  Just remember, you will want to know the answers to these same questions about your own business.     Tell me about your business, what do you do? Who is your ideal client? What is your goal for next year? What is the most unique aspect of what you do? What type of client is your least profitable and why? What is your biggest challenge? What is your biggest accomplishment so far? How can I help you in business and networking? Don’t stop there!  It is good practice to come up with some more questions on your own.  Keep in mind, you want to stand out in the crowd.
  1. Tell me about your business, what do you do?
  2. Who is your ideal client?
  3. What is your goal for next year?
  4. What is the most unique aspect of what you do?
  5. What type of client is your least profitable and why?
  6. What is your biggest challenge?
  7. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
  8. How can I help you in business and networking?
Don’t stop there!  It is good practice to come up with some more questions on your own.