For many years I lived on Staten Island and did business in Manhattan and Northern NJ. My wife had a local hair salon on Staten Island (Chrysalis Salon) and I decided to commute for business. Eventually I was selling nationally. I enjoyed it for a while, but grew tired of it over time. In those days I felt that Staten Island was a close knit network that I really wasn't a part of. As we get older and want to spend more time with our families many of us choose to simplify life and work closer to home. I made a conscious choice to create a successful business on Staten Island. It takes some effort like anything worthwhile, but it is worth it. Our company, BetterBizWorks, LLC offers web design, Internet marketing and secure business technology solutions for for companies in the New York Area. I wanted a steady flow of customers from Staten Island. I found that social networking was the most effective way to create a steady flow of new customers. It takes time to build relationships that create solid business. This article is about the physical social networking as opposed to virtual networking. Virtual networking has it's place. There are many articles on my the site that can help you with Facebook, Google+, Linked In, Twitter and others. This is about handshaking, socializing and making friends in the real world. The way to start is through a business group you are comfortable with.
There are many groups on Staten Island and elsewhere that claim to be the leaders in networking for your business and all of them have merit of some kind. In the end if you put the would in you'll get the fire going. You can't get a fire without providing the fuel first. In social networking the wood is spending the time learning about other business owners in like fields. Building relationships with strategic partners in those fields, and creating trust through hard work while utilizing the highest ethical standards in your business practice. Most of the people you network with should mirror your demographic footprint, business ethics and style. If you have commonality in these areas, your networking is more likely to succeed. The relationships you forge can last a lifetime.
There are many groups that offer networking. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start. Some of the organizations that I have enjoyed most are listed here. You may or may not be able to join depending on your industry type because most of them do have a limit in each vertical. The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce has been a wonderful organization for me. I have been involved with Business Guild 3. I have made some wonderful friend,s and have created some excellent business relationships here. Business Guild 3 website is www.sibusinessguild3.com The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Business Guild Three holds weekly meetings at The Hilton Garden Inn, Thursday Mornings at 7:30AM at the time of this writing.
Staten Island Business Friends is also an excellent organization. They meet every other week at the Staten Island Hilton Hotel on Tuesday mornings. Their website is www.sibfnetwork.org SIBF offers networking, camaraderie and roundtables that help you grow your business.
Staten Island Business People is a fairly new organization run by John Marino. This organization was started through Facebook. It has grown past 1,600 Members. They hold a large monthly mixer and a few luncheons all over Staten Island. It is a more casual group because there is no formal sit down meeting. They offer more of a cocktail and buffet type social event that works very well. There are different people at different mixers and it's offers a refreshing change to the social networking climate. Their website is www.sibusiness people.com
My favorite group because giving back to the community is important to me is the North Shore Rotary of Staten Island. While this group is mostly about fellowship and philanthropy, some of the best business networking comes as a result of the good we do for the community. The relationships that are built through raising money for local Staten Islanders and people all over the world can last a lifetime. The North Shore Rotary meets weekly on Thursday nights at 7:00pm at La Grecci's The Staaten. Don't join the Rotary for solely for networking. Your main purpose needs to be your need to give back to the community and the world. The networking seems hollow in comparison, but the funny thing is that it is the most rewarding all around. What's true in life is true in this organization. In the last few years we have raised money for Autism, Individuals in need of help, Polio victims, scholarships, exchange programs, and so much more. While doing so business relationships have come from the friendships created through these efforts and nothing compares to the feeling that this produces. The North Shore Rotary Website is www.sinorthshorerotary.org
There are many more networking groups out there like BNI, Le Tip, and so many more. They all have certain advantages. The reward comes from the work you put into forging relationships. You must give more than you get in the beginning. If your not a giver forget about networking because the giving must come before you start to receive.It's always a good policy to give more than you get in a relationship. Within reason of course. Look for a group larger than 20. Get to know the individuals in the group. See if there are strategic advantages to your industry. Build mini power networks within the group. Always make sure you give an excellent value for your services because anything less is a disappointment for all. Most of all enjoy the people, the fellowship and the relations that you create. It should be fun. Feel free to contact me if you need guidance with any of these organizations.
Charles Di Bartolo