People tend to do business with people they know-and one of the quickest ways to meet people is through associations. Before you sign on, though, make sure the group is worthy of your investment of dollars and of time. Will you get the return you seek? To find out, ask yourself these questions before deciding to join a group:

  • What do I want from this group? Advice? Accreditation?
  • What do I have to give? Time? Money? Referrals?
  • Is the cost greater than the benefit?
  • How committed is the group leadership?
  • Do I like these people?

Once a member, make sure you spend time at the meetings. And give the group a fair shot-at least a year-before deciding it's not for you.

Excerpted from Get Smart: 365 Tips To Boost Your Entrepreneurial IQ