Top 6 Types of Business Networking Groups (and How to Find One)

Business Networking Groups
6
min read
May 18, 2021

For small business owners, there are few things as important as building your network. It doesn’t matter if you’re launching a new business, looking for investors for your startup, or trying to build buzz around a new product or service; the more business relationships you have, the easier it can be to effectively build, manage, and grow your company.

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There are plenty of ways to build your network. But one way to connect with other business professionals and make the connections you need to take your small business to the next level? Business networking groups.


Networking organizations can plug you into a network of other business owners and business professionals—which can lead to everything from business referrals to mentoring to partnership opportunities.


But what, exactly, are professional networking groups? What different groups are available? And are these networking organizations the right fit for you and your business?

What Are Business Networking Groups?

Business networking groups are organizations that aim to bring together business people. These groups typically offer a variety of networking opportunities to build your business, including in-person business networking events (like conferences), online networking events (like webinars), educational events (like lunch and learns), and more targeted networking opportunities (like events specifically for young professionals or small business networking).


While many business networking groups focus on fostering local connections (which offers a huge value to local business owners), many organizations have a national or international focus, which can help you build business connections around the country—or even around the world.

The Top 6 Types of Business Networking Groups

There are a variety of business types—and, as such, there are a variety of business networking groups.

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Some of the different types of business networking groups include:

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  1. Business referral groups. Some networking groups are all about driving business for the participants. Business referral groups bring together professionals and business owners in order to build relationships and refer new business to each other.
  2. Service-based groups. On the flip side, other business networking groups are less about advancing businesses and more about advancing local communities. Service-based groups like Rotary International bring people together in local chapters—including professionals and business owners—for volunteer and community projects.
  3. Mentorship groups. Some business networking groups specifically bring together new and more seasoned business owners for learning and mentorship opportunities.
  4. Mastermind groups. Masterminds are business networking groups that bring together like-minded professionals for learning and growth opportunities. While masterminds certainly offer opportunities to build your network, they are typically smaller, more focused, and more goal-oriented than other networking groups.
  5. Large-scale business networking organizations. Many business networking organizations are focused on building local connections. But in addition to providing local networking opportunities, many other groups have a wider scope—like Business Networking International (BNI), a referral networking organization with over 10,000 global chapters and 275,000 members around the world.‍
  6. Industry-specific networking organizations. Many industry organizations also offer industry-specific networking opportunities for their members (so, for example, if you owned a marketing agency, you might consider joining the American Marketing Association and attending their conferences and local events to connect with other professionals in your industry).

How To Find A Business Networking Group

If you decide you want to explore a business networking group, the next step is to actually find one. There are a few different ways to find a business networking group (depending on what you’re looking for), including:


Is A Business Networking Group Right for Me?

Business networking groups can be a great resource for your business. But they’re not right for everyone, so before you decide whether a business networking organization is right for you (and, if so, which type you want to join), there are a few things you’ll want to consider, including:


How To Make The Most Out Of Business Networking Groups

Feel like a professional networking organization is the right move for you—and your business? Here are a few tips to make the most out of the experience:


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