Building Your Business: Networking

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If you’ve spent any time networking, then this scene is familiar. A group of people, mostly strangers, gather together to hear about one another’s businesses.

Many times, there’s an exchanging of business cards and great conversation. Other times, there is even a sale made (usually after several times meeting the same people, that is).

Sometimes, when the stars align and we’re at the right phase of the moon and you threw salt over the correct shoulder and wore your lucky shoes, you might meet your business soulmate at one of these events. I’ve been lucky enough to meet five such soulmates through networking.

What’s a business soulmate?

A business soulmate is someone you meet who …

  1. Understands your business.
  2. Sees the value of what you do.
  3. Understands (and usually shares) your struggles.
  4. Has a similar business mindset.
  5. Just gets you.

So, business soulmate might sound a little dramatic, but trust me, until you meet one such person, do not judge my label. How do you meet a business soulmate?

Network.

It’s the best place to start. Find a group or groups and start attending meetings. Go regularly because that’s the best way to make connections. If after a few meetings, you don’t feel like you’re in the right place, then you probably aren’t. While you’re there, though, you’ll probably meet some people who need your services or products in their lives.

But, Mindy, I get so nervous at networking events. I’m never sure what to say, if the “cool kids” will accept me, or if I will vomit when I have to give my pitch.

Networking for introverts is tough.

I get it. I’m an introvert, too. I would rather network from behind a computer screen all day every day than attend a public open networking events. But, the connections you make face-to-face can’t be replaced online. No way, no how.

The great part is, though, that if you’re an introvert, then your business soulmate will probably be an introvert, too. When you go to a networking event, look for those who are standing a little off to the side, outside of the main circle of activity. Chances are these people are your kind of people. Go say hi and make friends. Ask them about their business. People love to talk about their business.

Another option is to bring a friend with you. If you have a business friend already, ask them to join you. It will make the evening a little less stressful to know you’re not alone.

How do you find networking events?

Well, if you’re in the St. Louis area, check this out for suggestions. If you’re not in the St. Louis area, check it out anyway because there are a couple a links that will work for any area in the country.

Keep your eyes open on Facebook and ask your other business friends, too. I bet they’re networking and have suggestions for you to network as well.

Networking in St. Louis

If you are in the St. Louis area, then come join me at Better Together Networking. We meet the second Tuesday of every month, and we have a speaker every month to educate us on something new. We’re talking expert-level speakers who offer so much knowledge and experience.

If you’d like to learn more about Better Together Networking, then check out the group.

The Bottom Line

Networking is a great way to build your business. Over half of my revenue comes straight from connections I’ve made through networking. Did you hear that? Over half!

In addition to receiving referrals and business from connections, I’ve also been able to offer my customers reliable sources for other services I can’t offer such as graphic design, photography, insurance, accounting, and so on. I’ve met these great people, gotten to know them and the way they do business, and we’ve all benefited from that connection.

So, what are you waiting for? Start building connections. Network.

Mindy Schoeneman is a marketing consultant and strategist helping her customers by putting into words why they do what they do the way they do it, and then marketing it.Learn more about Mindy and her business, Sincerely, Me LLC.


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