Networking Is For Everyone
Have you seen the invitations for Business Connection or Business After Hours, and thought… my couch is calling me, or hmmmmm, I’ll have a headache that day?
Perhaps you even registered, but then decided last minute not to attend. (Which by the way, leaves someone hanging with extra food and costs-ooops!)
I want to give you some insight into these events. Here are questions I hear from people.
“What’s the difference between Business Connection and Business After Hours?
Business Connection is the first Friday of the month from 7-8am. It is a structured hour with time to learn about the business as well as an opportunity for each attendee to introduce themselves and share a tiny piece of their business. It might be one of our financial institutions sharing new rates for home loans, or “it’s not clean until it’s Patty Clean” from Divine Clean and a reminder of spring cleaning projects.
Business After Hours is from 4-6pm on the second Thursday of the month and is an open house, usually with a tour of some kind.
Both events provide food, and information about the business. Both give you a sense of the business and their work.
“I have plenty of business.”
Great, right now you do. You might be in over your head today, but what about this summer? Reminding people of your mere existence is important in the business world. Add some padding to relationships which you will need in the future. Being at a networking event shows you are involved in the business community. I think of Renee and Jon Hantge who have talked about being part of events simply to remind people they have Tri-County Water, and perhaps you’ll remember to order the softener salt you need. Or, next week your neighbor calls and says their water softener died….. they ask you who should they call? You’ll think of Jon and Renee since you just saw them. BOOM. I see this happen ALL THE TIME.
“Oh, I know what that business does.”
Do you really? Did you know they have a new product line they are making which uses the newest technology? Do you know who they just hired as manager? Did you realize they just renovated half their building? Have you been to their location to see them make product? Too many times we all make assumptions about what we do or don’t know about a business or business person. Did you know Jay Malone of Jay Malone Motors sleeps very little, and works in the wee wee hours of the night, because of his heart for his employees and customers? If you attended Business Connection you learned that tidbit. We meet people where they work and experience their passion.
This is building relationships.
“It’s so early in the morning.”
Yep, the best part of waking up is with a bunch of business people enjoying coffee, juice and breakfast…together. (I tried to make this work in my head as a coffee jingle.) Once 8am hits, we’re done and you are off to the races, ready to make the day bright and productive. Besides…. Seeing so many smiling faces is a huge day maker. And you’re actually probably already awake, and out of bed. Several of our Business Connection attendees cannot make the afternoon events due to work schedules, and they comment frequently about the morning being such a great option for them.
“I have to drop my kids off at practice.”
Supporting your kids and your family is VERY important. But if you are dropping them off, you may be just waiting in the car. Come to Business After Hours as it is an open house format. It isn’t structured like Business Connection in the mornings. Come when you can, leave when you need to. And if your child has a game or you need to be out of town… then attend the morning events. Heidi Arndt of Vivid Image usually needs to pick up her kids by a certain time each night. She comes early, and is able to accommodate her daycare time.
“I am not the owner of the business.”
And that matters….why? You are important to the work of your organization. ANY employee of ANY Chamber Member Business is welcome to attend. This is about growing your business, growing your network. Bo Young of American Family Insurance keeps saying, “Your network is your net worth.” Ooo, so good Bo! What happens to you if the owner/manager/president/supervisor leaves? What will you do? Having a network of options to lean on is extremely important.
“Why do businesses host either of these events?”
One. They are PROUD of their work and WHO does the work. I love to listen to people who are passionate about their work. Usually I tell people I could listen all day to someone who loves to make paperclips, passion is key.
Two. What a great way to share what you do and/or make. Educating the public and other business people is rewarding as is making B2B connections. Business to Business work happens frequently in Hutchinson. You may just make a connection attending and learning what a business offers, OR, what you can offer them.
“I don’t know anyone” or “I’m kinda shy.”
Time to consider what one “hello” can do for your business. We have MANY business people attend without a plus-one with them. MANY. You don’t have to worry about being a wall flower/shy type. We don’t bite. We really don’t. You are likely to know someone and if not, you will meet people. Mackenna Koehler from RAM Buildings frequently attends and has met people without having known people previously, and you know what? She meets someone new every month.
I am personally inviting YOU to attend something new and out of the box for yourself and your team. Join us on Friday, February 7th from 7-8am for Business Connection at St Anastasia’s, and/or Thursday, February 13th any time from 4-6pm for Business After Hours at the newly remodeled Edina Realty. Watch your inbox for invitations or send me a note to be added to the list.