Networking is one of the most important and inexpensive ways to grow your business. It’s human nature to do business with people we like. And it’s not companies that make decisions; people do. Fortunately, networking is fun and can lead to more than just business transactions; it can lead to meaningful relationships.
Think of networking as a long-term play. You may not see immediate benefits or increased sales, but not everyone is in the market for the same thing at the same time. So, stay in touch with the people you meet, and chances are, you will come to mind when your product or service is needed.
Another thing to remember is to try to be a connector. If someone tells you their needs, and it’s not in your wheelhouse, connecting them to someone who can help leaves an impression. Don’t forget to be a good listener! Networking goes both ways, and while it’s important to relay what you do well, it’s fascinating to learn about other people and a great way to start building relationships.
The Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce has several ways to expand your networking opportunities. In addition to groups that meet once a week are annual chamber networking events that are beneficial for business and a great way to bring the Bozeman business community together.
The Leads Groups comprise individuals from the business community who meet once a week to share ideas, information, and referrals. There are seven groups in our membership, each with 10-20 members each. One representative from a particular product or service is a part of each group to keep referrals from overlapping.
Business Before Hours and Business After Hours are gatherings hosted by a different business each month. These events are a great way to mingle with other business groups in a non-structured way and learn about the host business. Business Before Hours is the first Thursday of the month from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Business After Hours occurs the fourth Thursday of the month from 5:30-7:00 p.m. For those in Four Corners, 4:44 @4C, networking event occurs 4:44-6:00 p.m., 4-6 times per year (keep an eye out!)
Each summer, the annual Chamber Classic Golf Outing takes place at Bridger Creek Golf Course. In addition to the golf outing, business teams look forward to lunch, refreshments on the course, free range balls, mulligan balls, raffle tickets, and a putting contest!
And finally, the Chamber Annual Banquet. Over 300 members gather each January to review the past year in business and discuss the outlook for the upcoming year. The Sperry Award, the highest recognition of service to the community and excellence in business, is awarded during the banquet and the Green Coat of the Year, which recognizes a Chamber Green Coat member who embodies what year it means to be an ambassador to the community.
To learn more about the Chamber networking events or become a chamber member, contact Karri Clark.