Finding new customers and making contacts happens during the course of the business and there is no special effort or attention to growing the circle intentionally. And that I think is a grave mistake.
Similarly, by the dint of sheer hard work when you have grown your business it keeps you so busy that you do not have time to enlarge your circle as a conscious plan. Or you may be so well ensconced in your circle that you think it’s enough for your personal and business growth. And this is a bigger mistake.
The most certain thing in business is change and you never know which way the wind will take you. You need to be well connected and informed if you want your business to even stay afloat in turbulent times or grow exponentially by exploiting opportunities that you will not get sitting on the shores.
Growing your circle must be foremost in your list of things to do when you start a new business. And I highlight the few areas that you may want to consider to join and engage in.
Join the business council in your city. It could be associated with your trade or your nationality and will give you good exposure and build relationships.
Chamber of Commerce
The business chamber of commerce promoted by the government authority gives you an opportunity to engage with business leaders and government officials that will facilitate smoother transactions. Attending workshops, seminars, trade delegation meetings is a good learning and development opportunity and increases your visibility. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce is very active and though you may be an automatic member by virtue of your trade license, you should attend their meetings to gain more.
Akin to Business Councils, these organizations are specific to your educational qualification or skill and act as a forum for continuous learning while establishing a leadership presence in your industry. The ICAI is a very successful group for Chartered Accountants.
The networking forums help to increase your circle in a more dramatic way and also result in referrals. It requires a little more effort and participation but the results are worth the effort. BNI is a good example of a very effective networking forum for young entrepreneurs.
Master Mind Groups
A plethora of options are available for joining a Master Mind group where you get to interact with businessmen from different walks of life who can help you find solutions to vexing problems. Join the one that has a diverse group and a good moderator that can channel an effective outcome. My friend Muneer Samnani runs several Master Mind groups.
Special Interest Group
Joining special interest groups, such as the Toastmaster, is an excellent opportunity for not only developing your special interest but also meeting people who can help you grow your business with their input and connects.
Social and Community Groups
There are many groups that will need your time and money to fulfill their social or community objectives. While you are at it, you also get to meet people who are in a different frame of mind that helps to build a relationship that lasts much longer. The participation in such groups helps you to balance your non-business needs and make your time more meaningful. Rotary Club is a good example, besides the other groups in your community.
I hope my suggestions activate some dormant thoughts that you may have had for growing your circle. I am the National Director for CorporateConnections™ which is a global community of successful businessmen and C-level executives nurturing a common objective of business and personal growth. A lot of the benefits I mentioned above can be gained by joining CorporateConnections™, and I will be more than happy to tell you more about us.