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Networking is a key component of doing business. You have to meet people, develop relationships and eventually turn those relationships into customers. No matter the type of business you operate, networking should be an essential component of your day-to-day operations.

So, if you’re just starting a new business in Sacramento or somewhere, what networks should you consider joining?

1. The Chamber of Commerce

Almost every city or township has a chamber of commerce that supports several different business types. In Sacramento alone, you’ll find chambers for Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and more. A chamber of commerce typically has a monthly meeting where different businesses can come together and discuss anything. A chamber of commerce website will list when the events are upcoming and give you an idea of who might be presenting. This is a great opportunity for you to introduce your business and try to meet some new people.

Fees for any chamber of commerce change depending on the location and the business category. Head over to your local chamber’s website to see what is available for your business and budget.

2. Business Networking International

Business Networking International or BNI for short is a networking group with thousands of chapters all over the world. Every chapter has a set number of business categories and members who can join. In Sacramento alone you will find chapters all over town from Elk Grove to Auburn and everywhere in between. Each chapter holds a weekly meeting either online via Zoom or in-person where each business owner has an opportunity to present their business. You’ll also be able to present for up to 10 minutes every quarter or so. Just like a local chamber of commerce, BNI is a great way to introduce your business to customers, network with people and grow your customer base.

Fees for BNI are set at $800 for the year. This cost covers the meeting necessities like a location, coffee / tea and snacks. Depending on the business you operate, you can quickly recoup your fee with a few new customers.

3. Better Business Bureau

Perhaps the longest-running business network in the United States is the Better Business Bureau. Just like BNI and chambers for different cities, the Better Business Bureau operates in most major cities. The BBB also gives you the opportunity to meet new businesses, network with people and establish new working relationships. Official membership of the BBB will grant you access to meeting rooms (conference rooms provided by the organization), inclusion in a monthly newsletter, inclusion in social media posts and of course, the official BBB Accredited badge.

Fees for the BBB run around $1,200 for the year. It’s important for you to measure that against what you could be earning from new customers, then decide if it’s good for your business and budget.

These are just a few of the many business networking opportunities out there. You may also want to join your local Rotary Club, host an event or find highly-specific groups on Facebook. You should always be seeking new relationships and new ways to connect with potential customers through various marketing techniques.

If there are other networks we should feature here, please let us know in the comments!

By David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez is a local real estate agent and contributor to 916 Journal. Look for David's posts about business topics.

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