Magazine article Black Enterprise

Look before You Leap

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Look before You Leap

Article excerpt

All too often, contact-hungry entrepreneurs and professionals join networking organizations before investigating them thoroughly. Does this sound familiar? You hastily join an organization, only to discover later that it's disorganized, poorly attended and moreover, doesn't meet your needs. To avoid wasting your time, money and energy on the wrong organizations, consider the following suggestions to help in the weeding-out process: * Make a list of specific goals. Your list should include specific business and personal goals, as well as skills and talents you can contribute to the organization. Paul R. Hammons, president of Hodges & Hammons CPA firm in Los Angeles and treasurer and founder of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, advises: "If you can bring something to an organization to help build its membership, you could reap benefits in the long run by means of positive imaging and business promotion." * Ask for an information packet. Review the material thoroughly to understand the philosophy, history, structure, affiliations, programs and services of the organization. * Meet with the membership representative. Important questions that you should ask include the following: Are any of the members potential clients or referral sources for my business? What types of services and support do members receive? What events are scheduled for the next three to six months? What opportunities exist for members to take on leadership roles? Also ask for the names of two or three current or former members of the organization and arrange to meet with them. …

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