Small, independent businesses form the backbone of many smaller towns, and of neighborhoods in larger cities. Networking events for small business owners can help local entrepreneurs get to know each other, establish professional connections, and discover ways they can mutually support each other.
If your community doesn’t have such a group, maybe you should be the person to start one. With careful planning and organization, plus the help of online forms, you can make your local networking event a success. Here’s how.
Step One Is Preparation
Attending local business events is a great way to learn about who is active in your local business community. When you conceive of your local business networking group, think in specifics. For example, maybe there is a local retailer’s group, but there’s not a group organized for locals who work in the creative fields. Know what you want your group to be about before picking people to approach about attending.
Reaching out is a big step, but once you find another person who is enthusiastic about the idea, things get a little easier. People already have their own informal networks. With their help, you can find people who will not only encourage you but also actually show up for your initial event. Keep in mind that RSVPs on social media don’t carry nearly the level of commitment that formal RSVPs in the past carried. Here are a few tips to get a decent RSVP rate.
Don’t Wait Long to Schedule an Event
When you start a networking group, you should schedule your first event in the near future. That way you have something specific you can invite people to. Knowing how often you want to meet, go ahead and have two events scheduled to start. This makes it less likely that you (and others) will neglect that second event and subsequent ones. Establishing a “cadence” is important, even if you end up changing it later on. Schedule your first event soon, and keep it simple. Base the timing on your demographic. A breakfast meeting may be great for some people, but wrong for others. Choose a venue that’s easy to find, safe, and allows for easy conversation devoid of extraneous noise.
Use Online Forms to Keep Everything Organized
From registration to check-in to surveying participants about their likes and dislikes, if you create online forms, you’ll have an easier time. Use online forms software that’s mobile friendly, and you allow attendees to check in on their mobile devices, so you can avoid a long queue of people checking in manually. Online forms surveying participants after your first event can help you shape future events in terms of scheduling, venue, activities, and speaker topics. Trying to handle all this on paper is simply too much of a hassle for today’s busy entrepreneur.
Keep Good Records
Online forms also make it easy to keep good records. Who attended which event? How many people who RSVP’d “Yes” actually showed up? Which speakers drew the biggest audiences? You can create and Build Online Forms for all these things and more, making your life easier, and things easier for the next person should you decide to hand over the reins at some point.
Paper records are messier, less organized, and more of a hassle to share, while online forms can be shared instantly, don’t take up physical space, and won’t be lost or damaged.
Local networking events can be especially beneficial for local professionals in terms of expanding professional networks and in terms of coming together as a community. A neighborhood business association or a local creative professionals’ group can help people learn about opportunities, and about people with skills that are in demand.
If you choose to plan a local networking event, your life will be far easier if you create online forms to organize everything. They’re more convenient, won’t cost you in terms of paper, postage, and ink, and make it easy to keep comprehensive records.
PerfectApps is a form software that allows you to Create Online Forms without having to know how to program. PerfectApps integrates with your website with ease and allows you to collect and process pertinent data so you can spot emerging trends and make the most of your resources. We encourage you to watch our demo video and see for yourself how easy it can be to create and deploy online forms for virtually any event you can imagine.