business-networking.jpgBusiness networking and referrals – it’s one of the main reasons we join the Rockford Chamber. It is a valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business.

The Power Advantage Club of the Rockford Chamber provides that, and more. But, something unexpected happens when you bring together a group of successful, caring individuals: they help others in the community and, in turn, help themselves personally, too!

Business Reasons to Network

First, the business advantages of our group. Some of the top benefits of getting involved in networking include:

1. Generating Referrals and Increasing Business

This is the most obvious benefit and the reason most business owners decide to participate in networking activities. The referrals you get through networking are normally of high quality – follow up on these referrals and leads, and you can often turn them into clients.

“This club has given me the opportunity to broaden my view of the business people who live and work here. It has given me a better understanding of what is happening in the community and how interdependent we are on one another.” – Club Member Lisa Radant, LUTCF Agent, Shelter Insurance.

2. Connections

“It’s WHO you know.” This phrase often sounds like a negative, but you need to have a great source of relevant connections you can call on when needed. It can open the door to influential people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. Those with whom you network will already have their own network you can tap into, as well.

3. Opportunities

Gathering a group of business owners opens the doors to joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking engagements, business or asset sales, and more. The opportunities with which you get involved should align with your business goals, vision and interests.

4. Raising your Profile

Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. Make sure you regularly attend business and social events that will help get your face known. Then build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it.

5. Advice

Having like-minded business owners to call allows you the opportunity to get advice from them on all sorts of things related to your business. Tap into their advice.

“Because we meet on such a regular basis, we are able to learn more about each others’ unique needs and become allies in business. Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.” – Club Member Yvonne Peterson, Director of Marketing, Heritage Woods of Rockford.

6. Positive Influence

The people with whom you associate influence who you are and what you do. It is important to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people that help you to grow and thrive as a business owner.

“I am pleased to be part of a group of people who are committed to the success of the Rockford area, both in terms of economic growth and social services.” – Club Member Peg Wilkerson, Senior Vice President, Alpine Bank.

Community Support Reasons

The longer you participate in a networking group, the more you realize it is about more than promoting your business. You learn the combined talents in the group lead you to something bigger, by donating time and resources to the community.

Besides benefitting the community, there is great individual (and group) satisfaction from these donations. Since 2010, the Club has participated in these representative projects, and more:

  • Veterans’ Drop-In Center – Prepared, served meals
  • Rockford Park District — Cleaned up Brown Park playground and added cushioning mulch
  • Walter Lawson Children’s Home — Multi-year support purchasing batteries for their therapy devices
  • Rockford Rescue Mission — Provided donations, served meals
  • Rockford Health System’s Toy Drive — Donated toys for their pediatric patients
  • Rock House Kids — Provided donations, served meals

“Our club doesn’t just focus on our individual businesses, but what we all can achieve together as a group. We’ve supported many nonprofits as a group, and also support each other in our individual endeavors.” – Club Member Teri Watts, Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Broker, Key Realty.

I hope this has opened your eyes to the possibilities and Advantages from belonging to such a vital group within the Rockford Chamber community.