Partners at small to mid size firms sometimes lament that they don't have the marketing budget of their large firm colleagues. They feel that this may put them at a disadvantage when trying to build their brand and prosect for new business. But the good news is that there are many tactics that work for any size firm, and some don't come with a huge price tag.
One such initiative involves being active in the community. This isn't limited to attending events and passing out business cards! What it does mean is getting involved in a meaningful way by joining a Board. This can be a business board, such as a trade asociation (in an industry where you have an expertise and are building a niche focus), a chamber of commerce, or some more targeted business group. It can also include charitable organziations - whether it is your local symphony, United Way, a local private school, or a shelter for battered women and children.
Under each of these circumstances, the more you put in and the more you give, the more your get in return. Not only is there the obvious satisfaction of doing good work in your community, but there is the amazing opportunity to broaden your network and meet new people. The more active you become, perhaps chairing the program or membership committee, the more people you will meet. Acting as an ambassador for a nonprofit can also result in you acting as an ambassador for your own firm.
Rarely does networking combine with good deeds as effectively as when you join a Board. As you invest your time in helping others, effecting change and becoming an influential driving force to make a difference, at the same time you are garnering exposure for the firm.
This is the season for giving. As such it is a great time to think about what your passion is and find a group and get connected. Let me know how this works out for you!
I have heard of firms that mandate that theirpartners select one or two organziations and commit to occupying a seat on the board. Whether it is mandated, or just a suggestion, it is a practice that can reap dividends!