As an Elements owner, I am part of a wonderful franchise that provides much support and many systems in regards to running a successful business. I could not be happier about my decision to join this franchise network and the people in our corporate office in Denver are amazing.
When I was starting this business almost 4 years ago, as well as other ventures in the past, I quickly realized that the most affordable and effective way to grow and nurture my business as a long-term asset was to get out of the 4 walls surrounding me and network in the community. This need has only increased as my business has grown.
I often coach other business owners to get involved with at least 2 structured organizations in their respective territory. The big names I often recommend are the local Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI), Young Professional Society, the Rotary Club and the Exchange Club to name a few. These organizations are generally in every major community, city or town.
And networking works 2 ways. First, you should be focused on what BNI calls the "givers-gain", which is the benefit of connecting and referring people to the right professionals that can help. Second, as a reciprocal perk, you begin to receive introductions and referrals back your way. It truly is a 2-way street of giving.
Start small, and work up the courage to attend some events, maybe 1 per week for the first 3 months in business. Before you know it, you will have developed and nurtured some great relationships and grown your business in leaps and bounds!