November 12, 2008
By Mark Budwig
Since relocating my business to Fort Lauderdale in 2001, I've been a believer in "Community Marketing," the act of joining various local organizations and getting involved. This provides for excellent opportunities to create and nurture relationships. These relationships become your source for referrals. In addition to belonging to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, I strongly recommend you join at least two other groups -- and get involved. My favorites are Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk Trust and the Tower Club. All of these membership driven organizations provide excellent opportunities for networking and expanding your visibility in the community.
In 2003, social on-line networking was launched and now adds a new layer of opportunity to the equation. Sites such as http://www.LinkedIn.com and http://www.facebook.com strengthen and extend your existing network of trusted contacts. In addition to individually increasing your visibility and inviting other individuals to be apart of your network, you can also join groups. For example, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce group can be found at this link on LinkedIn.com.
The key to successful networking, be it with organizations or on-line, is to get and stay involved. Constantly meet new people and open new doors for yourself. And be sure to stay in contact with former relationships. On-line networking is a great way to stay in touch, thanks to technology.
Mark Budwig is president of S.MARK Graphics (http://smark.com/), a Fort Lauderdale-based graphic design and marketing firm. S.MARK is known for the ability to brand an organization including logo identity, letterhead materials, web site, e-mail marketing, brochure and advertising campaigns. The company was founded in Chicago in 1984 and relocated to Fort Lauderdale in 2001. Working on a project-to-project basis, S.MARK works with a variety of professions and not-for-profit organizations, acting as their in-house art department.