Excuse me. Referral groups. One popular group makes a big deal of the difference.
What difference? A ‘lead’ is “I heard that my brother’s hairdresser’s plumber needs your service, I think his name is Bob.” A ‘referral’ is “My plumber, Tri-Lakes Plumbing, needs your service. His name is Howard, here’s his number, he’s expecting your call.” (Yes, that is really my plumber. He’s great!)
So there is a considerable difference technically. But idiomatically, ‘leads group’ is the popular term.
A good group is a huge benefit to your business. They are absolutely worth the time (and money where applicable) in terms of business return on investment. But for the very small business the social aspects can be just as or even more valuable. When we work at home alone its easy to get bogged down in details, discouraged about a bad day, overwhelmed by a tough project or question, there is a whole list of incidents where the opportunity to bounce an idea off another small business professional is invaluable. Your referral or other professional networking connections can give you the social benefits that were one of the positives of more traditional employment.
Visit around and find one where the people and format suit you.
If you’re in Colorado Springs, check out BRAIN (Business Referral and Informational Networking). Its an amazing group of people. And someday we’ll even have a website.