Joining the Surrey Board of Trade
As valuable as networking is, choosing the right place to network can be challenging. In almost any industry you will find hundreds of networks,
clubs, and groups that in some form or another attempt to bring business people together for mutual benefits. They each have something
unique and they each have certain specifications for membership, now you need to figure out if…
- This network is a good fit for you and your business.
- Are you a good fit for their structure and obligations.
of what we look for when joining any business network. This is based on our research and experience so if there are points you don’t agree with
or feel there is important information we missed, please give us your opinion. The comment section is at the bottom of this article.
Here are our five reasons for becoming members of the Surrey Board of Trade and things to consider before joining any business network.
1. Choosing the Right City to Build Your Network
It is very important that you are in a city that has a growing population and is welcoming to business. If your company does any sort of online
marketing it is even more imperative to be in an expanding network. Becoming part of a stagnant network in a stagnant city will yield exactly
In 'world of online marketing, it is not enough to go shake a few hands, attend some events, and swap business cards. Those things are only the
base for expanding your company's network but the value is built in what you do afterwords.
Once you attend the networking event and make those personal connections, you then go back to your office and add them to your LinkedIN, send
them an email, and if they showed interest in your product maybe try to set up a meeting in person. By using proper techniques following these events
you can start to build your own online network. You would surprised how interconnected the world of online business is.
Need help with LinkedIn?
Now if you are in a network that doesn’t grow and is always attended by the same people it will take you less than a year before your network starts to
become more of a good ol-boys club. Which might be fun for a night out but when your competition has wedged itself into and expanding network your
company will get left behind.
The Surrey Board of Trade welcomed 16 new members at our induction breakfast. They have over 6,000 business contacts that are connected to
over 60,000 professionals, including local, regional, and international networks. The City of Surrey registered 23,000 new businesses in 2015 and
welcomes 800 new residents every month making it one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. The ever-changing landscape is perfect for using
in-person networking to transition to networking online.
So choose which city you spend your time networking in carefully and make sure there is no cap on growth from the network itself or the city it
is based in. Become part of a network with growth and optimism because those are the customers ready to buy your products and do business
right now. They will grow your online network and open opportunities you might not even know exist.
2. Joining Large Business Networks vs Small Business Groups
Now there is value of small groups of businesses getting together but more often than not these are more like support groups and should not be used
for expanding your customer base. In fact, there are cases where these networks can limit your business. The important thing is to have a clear understanding
of the difference between a Surrey Board of Trade and something like a real-estate association or a small business club. You simply need to know the difference
between business networking groups and a business support groups.
Networking broadens your professional horizons and gives you access to companies that otherwise can be impossible to contact in a personal way. Although a
larger network may take more time to meet people and build the relationships you also aren’t reliant on one small group to help you generate leads. Larger
networks give you the ability to align with multiple groups of businesses without limiting your access to others.
There are some groups that only allow one person of each profession per group. These type of groups should simply be avoided. On the surface, it seems like
a great idea because you eliminate competition from your club. You get to be a big fish in a little pond.
There are two things that happen when you join this type of organization. The first is you are in essence promising to limit your network to the people in each
group that represent their respective professions. Meaning when giving a referral it is not an honest recommendation but a requirement of your network.
Today's market doesn’t leave room for limits so if there is any hint of this type of policy, smile politely and walk the other way.
Secondly, smaller networks can cut off your information source. When you attend an event by the Surrey Board of Trade there is a good chance you will
meet bankers, marketers, mortgage professionals, and insurance brokers from all the major firms. No matter your industry this is an opportunity to learn
about their industries from various perspectives. Compare that to being in a network with just one banker or one insurance broker, it is next to impossible
you will be getting the best information.
Small organizations can really provide a sense of community and give you a chance to discuss your business or profession in more detail. Just so long as
any smaller organization doesn’t hint at working exclusively with its members and if you have time to be members of multiple organizations then they
do have their advantages.
3. Good Business Networks Have Diversity
In business; diversity is the land of opportunity. Unfortunately, not every Canadian city has the advantage of including such a diverse populations
as Surrey or many other cities in the Lower Mainland so this may not be a networking option for your business. If you are able to become part of a
business network that includes professionals from around the world with various backgrounds and expertise the opportunities even for a small company
become more accessible.
Most services or products can benefit from diversifying their customer base and supply chain networks. The more diverse the network the more
access to saving on purchasing supplies, upgrading technologies and processes, and finding competent staff. You don’t need to be a large company
to take advantage of a global economy and networks like the Surrey Board of Trade are a good place to start.
A diverse business network also helps you communicate with a growing customer base. You learn to communicate more effectively with a wide
range of people regardless of their profession, background, or even culture. Your business will become more flexible and more equipped to reach
new customers and handle their service needs by simply placing yourself in a diverse environment.
Most business professionals don’t have the time to get involved in advocating their business needs let alone the needs of their business network.
Part of living in a free country is contributing to its success and advocacy for business is a key ingredient to a strong economy.
In 2015 the Surrey Board of Trade rejoined the BC Chamber's Network making it a part of a network of 125 Chambers and 36,000
businesses in BC. A network of this size can influence governments at all levels to listen to the needs of businesses around the province
and to adopt policies that help spur on growth.
As of 2014 over 98% of businesses in BC are small business and there is without a doubt the need for strong advocacy on their
behalf. 1.8 million people rely on jobs created by small business and a voice for small business is also a voice for those employed by them.
If something as simple as joining a network and attending an event once a month can help give you that voice then it could be argued it
goes beyond opportunity and becomes a duty to your company, your employees, and the business community.
5. Good Networks Put on Good Events You can Sponsor
There is nothing worse than being asked to sponsor an event and you arrive at the event and you are embarrassed your name is associated
with it at all. When we researched which networks to join, every person we spoke with highlighted how organized and professional the
Surrey Board of Trade events are. Every opportunity you have to associate your brand with quality is one of the best forms of advertising available.
After you join a network, meet fellow professionals, and further expand that network online, now when you sponsor the dinner or cocktail party it
means something to the people who attend. It’s not just a chance for you to get the company name out there it signals your appreciation for the
opportunity to be a part of their business community.
Allocating funds for sponsoring quality networking events is one of the best ways to solidify your company as a fixture amongst hundreds or even
thousands of other companies. It positions you as a company that takes initiative and believes in the organization's value.
Business Networking Summary
There will never be a set way to choose the best network to join but these 5 guidelines we use may prove helpful when deciding for your company.
The most important thing is to be part of organizations that are moving forward and are passionate about business. You want groups that don’t limit
your opportunity to expand but rather diversify your company's network. Be part of a network that speaks on your behalf and that you are proud
to hang your name beside. The results just might amaze you.
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Written by Jerrod Downey
Jerrod Downey is the CEO of Crownsmen Partners. His team has developed
and managed marketing campaigns for companies in local, national, and
international markets. He currently serves on the I.S.S.A. board and
lives in Vancouver BC.
Information included in this article was derived from the following sources.
Surrey Board of Trade Re-joins B.C.’s chamber network.
City of Surrey Facts
Surrey Board of Trade Membership
City of Surrey Licensing Statistics
British Columbia Small Business Stats
Small Business Groups
Population by selected ethnic origins, by census metropolitan areas (2006 Census)
The Importance of Diversity in Networking with Ivan Misner
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