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Small business networking and collaboration during Small Business Week

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday October 17, 2023

Updated : Monday October 16, 2023

This week in October marks the BDC Small Business Week – and this year it’s all about small business networking and collaboration. Not all competition is unfriendly, and there can be a lot to gain by getting together with your peers to celebrate your successes, learn from one another, and look towards future growth. 

Small Business Week – Business Growth Advice from Advisors

Advantages of networking for small businesses 

There are many benefits to small business networking, including: 

6 small business networking and collaboration strategies 

We’ve collected a few small business networking ideas ourselves over the years at Benefits by Design (BBD). Here are some of our favorites:  

Supporting Advisors & Small Businesses for Small Business Week 2021

1. Attend small business networking events 

There are many networking events that happen throughout the year for all types of areas of expertise. Sign up for business newsletters and stay active on social media, and you’re bound to run across a plethora of small business networking events, ranging from: 

Remember, these events could be both in-person, or virtual. However, if you are truly interested in building new relationships, being there in-person goes a long way.  

2. Join an association 

If you are in an industry that has an association, join it if you meet the membership criteria. And the sooner the better. This can give you access to association only events and information and puts you in touch with your industry leaders. The more you interact with them and your peers, and show them your passion for the industry, the stronger your relationship will be. 

Are you in an industry that does not currently have an association? Consider creating one. Now there’s a powerful way to show your authority within your industry, and build your network and credibility.  

What is an Association Health Plan and What are the Benefits?

3. Be active on social media 

Being active on social media is a great way to connect with other professionals – both in and outside of your industry. It can also help you connect with current and potential customers, and is a great way to continue building trust and credibility. Remember, being active means posting consistently, plus watching, reading, reacting and commenting on your fellow professional’s posts. It also means monitoring your own posts for responses and replying if needed and researching industry hashtags to make sure you’re keeping up with the latest news and updates. 

4. Once connected, stay connected 

When you do make a new connection, make sure you keep it. Follow-up with either a phone call, email, or LinkedIn connection request. Assess the situation and make the appropriate gesture. And then continue to nurture your relationships. A contact management system (CMS) can help you stay organized, so you can prioritize your connections. For example, when and how you want to contact them, and the type of information you want to share with them when you do. 

5. Offer your expertise 

Are you a subject matter expert? An authority in your field? Or maybe you’re good at presenting ideas and information in a cohesive manner? Offer to be a guest panelist or expert at events or on webinars. Or create your own event and host your own webinar series to showcase your experience and expertise. 

6. Use a third-party administrator for your employee benefits plan 

A third-party administrator (TPA)’s business model is built around helping small businesses like yours access affordable, sustainable benefits. We essentially create a network, or pool, of small businesses with employee benefits, and then leverage that scale to negotiate rates with the large insurers.  

Four Benefits of Using a Third-Party Administrator (TPA)

TPA’s also act as a kind of network for benefits information. By drawing on our expertise, you basically have your own personal network of health insurance gurus at your disposal. We are there to answer questions about how the benefits plan works, claim submissions deadlines and requirements, invoicing, employee eligibility and late applicants, taxation of benefits, and more.  

A TPA can also collaborate with you on creating or updating your employee benefits plan. When setting up or reviewing your employee benefits plan, it’s important to start from the beginning. Ensure your benefits philosophy – why you offer benefits – aligns with your business goals. This, in turn, will give you a starting point from which to build your employee benefits. That’s where our small business handbook comes in handy.  

We go over everything from finding your benefits philosophy, to the most common employee benefits and beyond. Plus, we add an explanation of each benefit, as well as the benchmark for employer uptake, so you can remain competitive. Now how’s that for instant collaboration? 

Ready to get started? Go to our download page to get your handbook now.

Designing Your First Benefits Plan: The Small Business Handbook