If you can't find a networking group in your industry, why not create your own? To benchmark his own business practices against the best ones in his industry, David Luse of $8.2-million Minneapolis-based Arteka, a landscaping company, created his own small networking group.

Since Luse doesn't sell his services nationwide, he was able to round up a dozen noncompeting fellow landscapers from around the country for a two-day conference. The group talked about issues such as customer service and staffing. According to Luse, the landscapers now plan to meet twice a year.