Those of you who have been reading my column on a regular basis know that I have many off shoots of my company Telemarketing Consulting Services Inc. My firm specializes in providing cold calling services specifically for small and mid-sized firms. However, over the years I have realized that in order to be really successful, growing firms need more creative ways to get their name in front of a targeted audience. With that in mind, I´ve created my newsletter "Small Business News Monthly" distributed to approximately 1500 decision makers monthly and spotlights small business owners and their firms in nearly every issue. It also provides a low cost advertising and promotion alternative to buying traditional newspaper ad space. In addition I´ve created promotional campaigns designed to help promote small businesses. And of course there is my book, workshops (register for a session) and column here on www.allbusiness.com titled "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms. (I also have a second book coming out later this year focusing on promotion as well as tapes and DVD (so many of you have been asking if/when I´ll be coming out with something so look for them soon). However with all of the business enhancing services my firm offers, the one I am perhaps most proud of is the networking group I founded a year ago next month.
Something to Share Business Resource Group is a group I founded about a year ago to give small business owners a way of promoting their services in a controlled, targeted way. Anyone who has ever attended a networking event understands how they can be a bit overwhelming and sometimes unproductive. You have 200 people at an event and about 1 minute to tell the prospect about your services, and exchange cards, before you´re interrupted by someone or they lose interest and move on. Or there are smaller networking groups that are smaller but more corporate but insist that you attend every meeting, bring leads and pay an annual $500.00 membership. There is also usually a limit on industries that can join at any one time (i.e. one graphic designer, one accountant).
My group is exactly the opposite. For one, there is an annual membership fee of $300.00, however most attendees pay quarterly or month to month making it more affordable. In addition, you only pay for the sessions you attend. So if you only make it to every other session, you´re not obligated to pay for every meeting. Which as we all know can be difficult with a regular work day not to mention expensive. (Each session is $35.00 per person per month). You are encouraged to bring referrals but it isn´t necessary because this isn´t a leads group per se, but rather an information and resources group (hence the name). We don´t limit per industry (because every firm is different, offering unique services and I believe in choices. Also not everyone attends the same meeting), however we do limit the number of attendees per month to about 10. This makes it more of a rotating membership allowing different attendees each month rather than the same people and industries every month. My group also focuses on targeting attendees so we ask everyone to fill out a form telling us who they want to do business with and what services or help they need in running their business(office space, hired staff, etc. This makes inviting new attendees to a targeted event more productive because there is usually someone attending who will wind up doing business with you or know someone who will.
Every person who attends also receives free advertising in the newsletter and has 15-20 minutes to present their firm in front of a targeted audience. Again, making the session more productive. Finally, we ask that everyone bring lots of literature and business cards to be distributed in your absence of meetings you can´t attend (although we would prefer that you attend as many meetings as possible to represent yourself and your firm).
Lastly, we focus on a relaxed non-corporate atmosphere of sharing ideas and support. Which is something I can´t get enough of as a small business owner.
As we celebrate one year of networking together, I´d like to extend a special invitation to my readers in the Bay area to come to our August session for free to see for yourself what all the fuss is about. To learn more about our group and register send an e-mail to the address below and I will send you a form with all of the information. Something to Share Business Resource Group. Still a good idea a year later!!!!
This offer good with a mention of this column to Northern CA. residents only*
Tony Wilkins is the owner of Telemarketing Consulting Services and author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms´ available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at email@example.com or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column, please contact Tony Wilkins at firstname.lastname@example.org