I use a variety of business networking portals such as eCademy, Linkedin and Soflow and have attended some of the well known face to face networking groups like BNI and BRE.
They can be very useful. The benefit you get from joining is usually in direct proportion to the effort you put into them and it is worth researching carefully to make sure that the membership or style of operation suits you.
What I would like to highlight though is that they are all money making operations. That isn’t always made very explicit. The marketing makes them sound like charities or some sort of chummy club. But at least some of the people involved are getting paid to organise the events or to try and sign you up.
Does it matter?
Well I think that remembering that hard cash is involved probably makes the decision making process a bit sharper. It also gives you more imperative to demand the right level of service in terms of training or lead generation or referrals.
In Britain we have a saying “you pays your money and you takes your choice”. Just remember that you are paying quite a lot so choose wisely!