on the roadI’ve been hanging out with some pretty cool people lately. As a matter of fact, I’m heading to Vegas on Sunday to be in geek world for four days at the New Media Expo.

I almost bailed.

I know it’s good to get out, but my plate is pretty full right now.

And I travel so much anyway. If you don’t know, I have two homes and switch back and forth between them weekly. So I have a three hour weekly commute and turning that into an 8 hour drive didn’t seem like fun.

Then I thought about it.

I know that being at events where you can network with other crazy people, otherwise known as entrepreneurs, is one of the best ways to build your business.

Events are the places where you meet referral friends, joint venture partners and the best service providers for everything you want to outsource. It’s also a great place to meet potential new clients and people who want to join your tribe. And it stretches your mind with new info, replenishes your biz soul with new ideas and gives you some new tools to grow your biz and serve your clients.

So I’m plugging in some of my favorite podcasts, setting my GPS and happily heading down the road.

If you really want to grow your biz, I highly suggest you add networking to your list of marketing activities.

To find activities in your area, start with a google search for groups that serve the same clients you serve. Next, check meetup.com. Finally, ask your current clients, friends and colleagues where they network.

Make sure you add the networking opportunities you find to your calendar as an appointment. And keep the appointment.

Before you arrive, make sure you have business cards, a notebook and pen in case you want to jot down someone’s contact info, and a smile. Nothing is more appealing than showing up smiling.

When you arrive, look for someone to introduce yourself to and let them know that this is your first time. Your agenda at this point is to simply get to know some great people and have fun. Let the conversation flow naturally and don’t try to sell anything to anyone at the event.

After the event, follow up. Friend those you met on Facebook. Send a nice email or snail mail note letting them know how much you appreciated meeting them. Arrange to have coffee with those you really clicked with. And if you met someone who you feel you could serve, extend the offer of a conversation about your services.

Networking is about building relationship. Often those relationships take time to grow. So if you don’t get clients immediately from a networking group, that’s ok. Keep going, keep getting to know people. Those that are meant to work with you will sign the contract sooner than you think.