Networking is an invaluable assett to any business.
As a trained accountant I sometimes struggle with the ‘people’ side of business. When things are going really well, I tend to neglect networking and marketing. I am someone who can talk business all day long, but when it comes to being personable and building long term relationships with new contacts, I struggle.
As my company has added new products to the lineup, (and since they are right in my office building) I decided to join my local Chamber of Commerce. Of course, the first thing they do is point me in the direction of a get together they are having. Ugh! My experience has not always been positive with the coffees and social hours, but am keeping an open mind!
The first outing was on a Yacht Charter – we all dream about sailing holidays, and I can tell you it was awesome; it was a beautiful night; there were about 20 of us; I had rehearsed for hours my new 30 second commercial and was ready for anything.
The group comprised of the usual suspects: web designers, photographers, tree services; the most unusual was a woman who assisted people in buying cars; she literally did all the footwork and negotiating for her clients. In fact, one of her clients sat next her and vouched for her services; but that was not the best part: a woman remembered her from another event; the woman had remembered that she had been inspired as a child with a love for cars; she and her brothers would sit on the porch and identify cars in front of their house. Bingo!
It made me remember what inspired me as a young girl. I grew up in a small town in New York State. There were literally 3,000 people and not a whole lot to do. However, our neighbor had a garbage business with about 3 trucks and did quite well. The wife took me under her wing and when I was about 14 wanted to know if I would help out with the billing. This consisted of writing postcards to customers telling them what they owe each month; then crediting their accounts when they paid.
That simple business model triggered something in me that lives on today. The love of business and all that it entails; the highs, the lows, the struggles, the satisfaction of being your own boss, the innate creativity we all have but may not tap into, the growth as a person is immeasurable.