Case Study – Is Networking Really Worth My Time?

Situation:

Today’s business owner can no longer rely on cold calls, yellow page ads, or friends and family to stay in business. These may have worked in the past for your parents – it is NOT working today. Case in point is the aging of your parents, their friends, their contacts, and their customers. Loyalty is another consideration. Again, your parents did not compete with the internet, email blasts, or company profiles on Angie’s List or other customer conversation sites.

Analysis:

1. Local businesses are now competing nationally due to free shipping and easy access to product listing on the internet.
2. Anyone can say anything they want about you or your business and you may never know about it until customers stop being customers.
3. Online customer evaluation services (Angie’s List, Yelp, Urban Spoon) allow for customers to say anything they want about you and your business for the world to see.
4. Online presence of competing businesses.

Solution:

The first line of defense for you and your business is personal connections. These are very easily made at networking events in the city in which you work and live. Pick events that are either free for you to attend or have a very minimal cost. Ask the other business owners who you know to be successful where they network and ask them to invite you to the next event they will be attending. Look for organizations that have continual events that are sponsored by corporations. Large corporations work with event sponsors who are successful and who bring large numbers of diverse businesses to their events. Finally, actually attend these events. You cannot network form your living room and computer based friends may or may not turn into clients.

ASBC sponsors a quarterly networking event during the first month of each quarter. These events are always corporately sponsored so there is no cost for the attendees. Connections are facilitated by the ASBC staff such that no one is just standing around looking for someone to talk to about current or future business. Each event is two hours in duration however attendees are encouraged to stay longer and do individual one on one meetings with people they meet.

Comments

  1. Tom,

    I could not agree with you more about the importance of networking!

    Your quarterly networking events are very informative and rewarding. Everyone can benefit from attending from a personal level to a professional level.

    It is the personal connections that are made that attract people to associate and do business with me. Networking is so important to my business because it is ever changing.

    Rebecca Geiger
    Comey & Shepherd REALTORS
    ThisGirlSellsHomes.com