Research on Entrepreneurs: Membership in Business Networking Groups Proliferates

At a time when budgets are being cut left and right, a brand new report published by Ventureneer, “Use and Value of Resources by Small Business Owners and Nonprofit Leaders,” finds the membership in business networking groups continues to proliferate – over three quarters of entrepreneurs find value in belonging to one or more.

There are tens of thousands of business associations and groups including professional networking groups, chambers of commerce (C. of C.) industry specific associations, and citizen/service organizations such as the Rotary and Lions Clubs. The purposes of these groups vary; some work to further the exchange of referrals, while others promote the interests of members, share knowledge, and give back to the community. The one thing all these organizations share in common is that they facilitate building relationships among businesspeople. Virtually all (93%) of entrepreneurs see the benefits in belonging to business associations and groups.

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By far, entrepreneurs favor networking groups (78%) to the next type of group, industry associations (58%). Clearly, in today’s times, generating referrals trumps any other reason for belonging to an organization.

Honestly, I was surprised by the disparity in these numbers. It’s been my experience that the value of belonging to a networking group versus an industry association is about equal, and in fact, they can work hand-in-hand in providing referrals and support. So I’m turning to the readers of my blog to help me better understand this. Do you prefer to belong to one type of organization versus another?


For me the best groups have

For me the best groups have been peer to peer mentoring groups such as the Women President's Organization. In my previous industry, the industry organizations were pretty lame, and once you had a lawyer and an insurance agent, the referral groups weren't terribly helpful.

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