Business Meeting Groups Near Me

Do you need to make contacts as a new business owner? Discover how joining business networking groups can help you build your business.

If you own a business, networking is always a top priority. Perhaps you have a new product or service to promote. Alternatively, the business itself might be entirely new. If so, it is vital to find customers. You also need to build up your list of contacts within your industry. Often, you may need to work together on certain projects or can help each other find clients. For example, if a homeowner hires a roofer who knows you are a house painter, he or she might recommend your services to that homeowner. That is why developing relationships with others in similar or complementary fields allows all of you to benefit.

There are many ways to network your business. You can begin by speaking to family members and friends to develop clients. Word of mouth can help you expand your company slowly over time. However, faster networking requires a more proactive approach to making new business contacts. One of the best ways to do that is by joining business meeting groups. Such groups are also called business networking groups. If you are interested in joining some, you need to learn about the groups available in your area and decide which ones suit your business.

What is a Business Networking Group?

A business networking group is a group that helps business people make connections with each other. Typically,  those connections are made via special events held by the group. At those events, business people are given opportunities to develop partnerships or exchange contact information. They can use that information to refer clients to each other. Business groups also sometimes provide opportunities for long-time business owners to mentor new business owners. Types of meetings commonly held by business networking groups include:

  • General Business Seminars or Conferences

  • Industry-Specific Seminars or Conferences

  • Business Classes of Various Types

  • Online Webinars

  • Other Scheduled Social Gatherings (Monthly Lunches, Annual Conventions Etc.)

What Are Some Types of Business Networking Groups? 

Not every business networking group is alike. Many have specific structures or goals. You may wish to target one specific group or join several to take advantage of the benefits of each. Here are some of the many types of networking groups for business owners available:

  • Strong contact networks typically limit membership. They try to admit business owners with specific specialties whose skills complement each other. Members constantly promote the businesses of other members because their clients typically require multiple services. A good example of such a group is one for business owners in the construction industry with varied specialties and skill sets.

  • Casual contact networks typically have fewer restrictions regarding admittance. They allow multiple businesses in the same niche to join. However, they are often specific to certain cities or regions. For example, a Chamber of Commerce is a casual contact network focused on supporting business owners in a specific geographic area.

  • Professional business associations are niche business meeting groups with singular areas of focus. Such groups exist for medical professionals, attorneys, teachers, and other specific industries.

  • Community service clubs are not strictly business meeting groups. They exist to help meet the needs of their communities. However, when business owners in those communities come together for good causes, bonds are formed. Many business owners find such clubs helpful because membership in them offers social and networking opportunities. At the same time, it improves their reputations within their communities.

What Are the Benefits of Business Networking Groups?

The most obvious benefit of joining a business networking group is exactly that. It provides opportunities for networking. That allows business owners to increase the visibility of their businesses. However, business networking also has other benefits. Many of them are more subtle. Yet, they are equally important. For example, business networking groups provide opportunities to:

  • Learn Industry Tips and Secrets

  • Collaborate

  • Do Market Research

  • Expand Business Skills

  • Find Inexpensive, Reliable Suppliers for Certain Industries Requiring Materials

  • Receive Business Advice from Industry Leaders

How Do In-Person and Virtual Business Networking Groups Compare?

In the wake of COVID-19, many business networking groups were forced to convert to virtual meetings. As of 2022, some are returning to in-person events. However, there are many groups that have kept networking virtually. There are also groups that were founded originally with virtual networking in mind.

Face-to-face networking has several unique advantages. It often allows group members to size each other up more accurately. It can help members forge lasting relationships with other members they deem trustworthy. However, virtual events also have some excellent benefits. For example, members miss fewer meetings because they can attend from any location. Groups allowing virtual membership also often have members from all over the country. Sometimes they even have international members. A geographically diverse member list provides many more networking opportunities for larger businesses than a small local group.

What Are Some Top National Business Networking Groups?

Some business networking groups are quite large. They are ideal for business owners who have large businesses and are expanding throughout the United States. Joining such groups allows business owners to make connections throughout the country. It allows business owners to forge bonds with suppliers or collaborators before opening new offices, retail stores, or factory locations. Some of the top large national and international business networking groups include:

How Much Does Business Networking Group Membership Typically Cost?

Business networking group costs are variable. Some groups, especially those that are small and local or entirely virtual are free or have low costs. However, the groups offering the most connections and perks often have the highest costs. Those costs can also vary by region, membership level, and package chosen. For example, as of 2022, the Mid America chapter of BNI charges $649 for a single year or $999 for a two-year commitment. Many groups also require members to pay fees for meals, hotel rooms, or travel when meetings are held in physical locations. Therefore, you must choose the group or groups you join wisely and factor in all possible costs.