There’s zero question that networking is one of the keys to building a successful career that allows you to enjoy financial freedom. However, it’s also true that networking can be expensive. Well, the good news is there are ways to network without blowing through your bank account.
4 Cost-Effective Networking Tips Worth Every Dime
“Networking has delivered more return on investment than any other tool in my business,” entrepreneur Chris Garrett is quick to point. “Both financially and in non-monetary terms, my network has delivered so much value that I can not imagine what my situation would be like without it. If there is one thing that I could suggest that would be guaranteed to boost any business, networking would be it.”
When you network, you obviously get the direct benefit of new revenue-producing business opportunities, but there are also intangible benefits like friendship, advice, confidence, and stability.
Want to enjoy all of these things without chipping away at your savings? Heed the following advice:
- Host Networking Gatherings
Who says you have to go out to have a good time? Sometimes the best networking events are held in quaint, intimate environments. For example, have you considered hosting a networking gathering at your home?
A simple wine dinner at home is a great way to get people together in a comfortable setting without spending thousands of dollars. Ask everyone to bring a bottle of wine and an appetizer, and you can take care of the main dish. Hosting people in your home is the ultimate act of hospitality, which pairs well with networking.
- Give Simple and Memorable Gifts
Actual face-to-face networking is only a small percentage of the bigger picture. After all, you can’t be with the people in your circle every minute of every day. However, there are other ways to stay relevant. For example, try giving personalized gifts during the holiday season, or tokens of appreciation after major accomplishments. Ideally these are desktop gifts – like business card holders, clocks, paperweights, etc. – that constantly remind the recipient of you.
- Utilize Drink and Dinner Specials
Going out for dinner and drinks, but don’t want a massive bill at the end of the evening? Utilize the many drink and dinner specials that are scattered throughout the week.
In networking, there are two words everyone loves: happy hour. Typically, happy hour occurs right after normal business hours – somewhere between 5pm-7pm – so schedule your meetings for right after work.
- Join Business Networking Groups
Do you need a more structured approach to networking? You should be able to find a handful of local business networking groups in your area. If you’re in a big city, there may even be a few specific groups to choose from.
The great thing about joining these groups is that you know everyone is on the same page. There’s very little awkwardness since everyone has the same goal of networking. Furthermore, it’s cost-effective, since the group generally hosts events and dinners. You may have to pay a small membership fee, but it’s typically worth it in the long run.
Never Stop Networking
If there’s one piece of advice that you should heed, it’s never stop networking. While you’ll sometimes feel like everything is under control, the truth is that you always need a network to keep you up. The intensity with which you pursue networking may change depending on the season of your life, but there’s always a time and place for building mutually beneficial business relationships.