Here are three support systems to help you run your business better:
• Almost every city, town, and village has a Chamber of Commerce. You can Google your town and the phrase “Chamber of Commerce.” I’m sure you will find one for your town or at least your area. You can attend mixers at no cost, but membership will have a price tag.
• Do you want success? Two of my friends launched an organization they call Successful Thinkers and have grown it by nourishing and spawning local chapters. I regularly attend the Cameron Park chapter and have given speeches at the Arden (Sacramento), Auburn, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, and Jackson chapters. I understand Successful Thinkers is growing outside California and has found recent success in Indianapolis. Successful Thinkers provides an environment where businesspeople can share ideas and meet other business owners. You can Google “Successful Thinkers” or search for them on Facebook. They may have a chapter near you. These meetings have no charge.
• Say hello to Rotary. Almost every community has a Rotary Club. Rotarians practice service over self by helping improve their communities. Rotary, International and its 1.2-million-member volunteer base work to combat hunger, improve health, and eradicate polio. My local Rotary Club includes the “movers and shakers” of the community. The folks whose names end up in the newspaper (for good reasons) are also active in the local Rotary. This is a very attractive place for networking. Different Rotary Clubs have varying financial commitments, so visit http://www.rotary.org to learn more about the Rotary Club closest to you.
You can find more networking groups at http://www.meetup.com or http://www.linkedin.com. I’ve found networking groups that cover almost every niche. You should determine your niche and then go looking for a group. Some are very specific—I’ve been invited to women’s networking groups. I haven’t attended for the obvious reason, but they may work for you.
Regardless, remember that you are not alone. Finding a support system will help you run your business better, meet high-quality people, and gain credibility.
Mark Anthony Germanos is the author of two books, Escape the Cubicle: How to leave your corporate or government job for something better and How to Make Computer Systems Work for You. He has faith in a slow but sure Sacramento business revival. Sacramento small business owners are leading the way. His second book, Escape the Cubicle, is for those who want to escape cubicle jobs and become successfully self-employed. Escape the Cubicle answers the questions: "How can I grow my business" and "How do I become my own boss."
Mark is the President of Cameron Park Computer Services. As a business owner and computer networking consultant, he has seen habits that successful Sacramento small business owners embrace. He helps Sacramento small business owners embrace those habits to increase their profits, efficiency and happiness. An advocate of Sacramento business revival, Mark believes everybody should run their lives like a small business, perform SWOT Analyses and use social media campaigns to improve business. He used to say “social media is stupid.” That was until he attended a conference and saw how Sacramento small business owners can use social media campaigns as a valuable tool. Since then, he has earned more than $40,000 in business via social media. His Sacramento small business clients also have five-figure returns. Sacramento small business owners that launch social media campaigns give themselves a comparative advantage over those who lag behind. Mark does not do everything, but his clients do receive great results and participate in the Sacramento business revival when they follow his advice.
Mark moved from Chicago and restarted his business in California with a cell phone and a Honda Civic. An active triathlete, he has a life, a dream wife and a dog. For additional details, visit http://markanthonygermanos.com. Twitter: http://twitter.com/markgermanos. Facebook: http://facebook.com/markanthonygermanos. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markgermanos.