Monday, December 1, 2008

BizNik: Business Networking that Doesn’t Suck

We've recently been watching an up-and-coming business networking organization called BizNik - and we're not the only ones. In the past year alone, BizNik has been an Official Honoree for the 2008 Webby Awards, Best in Class winner of the 2008 Interactive Media Awards, and Silver Winner of the 2007 W3 Awards.

BizNik believes, as we do at InsideUp, that when you're small, collaboration is a much surer path to success than competition. After all, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 23.3 million small businesses in the U.S. that have just one employee. Networking, therefore, is an essential tool that businesses can use to make connections with clients and vendors.

We especially love BizNik because it combines the power of online networking with local events that are occurring in cities across the country; you get the best of both worlds! With BizNik’s growing membership in cities and towns across the U.S. and around the world, now is a great time to jump in and try business networking.

BizNik makes a point to distinguish itself from other popular online business networking tools, such as LinkedIn and Namyz. BizNik explains that it's "not a place for job seekers. It's about sharing ideas, not for posting resumes. And it's where conversations about business and entrepreneurship are taking place." Plus, as we mentioned, BizNik provides online and offline opportunities to meet and greet fellow small business people.

Keep in mind that whether you network online or in person, there are some networking dos and don'ts that you should be aware of in order to increase your chances of success. According to Mark McGregor, author of "The 10 Commandments of Networking", one of the most important things that you can do when networking is to "drop the 'what's in it for me’ attitude”. For effective networking, including participation in online communities, we at InsideUp feel you have to participate, share, and give; the collective participation will eventually provide rich benefits to all.

Looking for some networking opportunities in your town? In addition to BizNik, check out these sure-fire national resources to get started (if you haven't done so already):
Finally, don't leave home without reading these networking tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which include tips on how to improve your appearance (get a haircut) and behavior (don't huddle up with co-workers and friends) while networking.

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