Remember that feeling you had when you started the business?
If you answered anything but a resounding YES, then consider the summer a perfect opportunity to breathe new fire into your belly, and new life into your business.
Contrary to popular belief, probably 99.9% of all entrepreneurs are not globe-trotting, Fabergé egg collectors who take four day weekends. Almost everyone I know treat entrepreneurship as a lifestyle and literally work around-the-clock making the business sustainable in the present, but most importantly, for the future. If you start treating networking events as an opportunity to further develop relationships with people for the future, you are much more likely to enjoy longevity in your business.
The harsh reality of small business is that most don’t survive the magical five year mark. While its possible changes in modernization and technology can account for some to go out of business, it’s more likely the vast majority of business owners do not understand, or value, the concept of networking.
There is a big difference between collecting as many business cards as you can in a single event, and networking for the sake of building relationships. Starting-out, it’s common for entrepreneurs to go to an event and hand-out / collect dozens of business cards. At the end of the day, aren’t we all told we need to network to get work? What better way to meet people then by exchanging business cards right? If you agree with that sentence, you might be a networking rookie. Go back a few years and even I had some difficulty learning this important concept. Make no mistake, business cards are not an outdated concept, but it’s important to always keep in mind the purpose of networking is to connect with someone in a way that builds credibility and trust.
While it’s true that some larger business organizations such as Chambers of Commerce offer less organized activities in the summer, networking is all around you! Why not organize your own little networking event? Become known as a ‘mover and shaker’ by inviting some key players out for a drink on a patio during the hot summer months. After a few times word may spread and it may catch-on. You may be amazed to know that people are always looking for new activities and events to meet like-minded people.
And who knows…maybe with all the success you’ll have a Fabergé egg may one day adorn your office desk!
Until then, keep sweating-up the networking circuit until you own it.
For more networking tips, check out the weekly eSAX Ask The Fedora videos on YouTube!
Jarrod Goldsmith is a Canadian small business community builder and is the embodiment of the small business spirit. He is one of Ottawa’s best known entrepreneurs and founded Sax Appeal (Canada’s Premier Saxophone Ensemble) eSAX (The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience); Ottawa’s largest entrepreneur networking community for small business.