The Entrepreneur’s Corner
Network before you need work
Recently I had the opportunity to hear a speaker at a networking event with more than 500 attendees, and he asked them “Who is here today to sell something, to get some business?” More than half of those in the audience raised their hands. He then asked, “Now who is here today to buy something?” Not a single person raised their hand.
This is an all too familiar refrain when it comes to what is often thought of as “networking.” Many people attend networking events when they need work or want to close the next big deal, and they are consistently disappointed because people simply do not attend these events to buy. I am not saying that business never happens at networking events, it does, but it is rare, and even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.
In addition to this networking disconnect, there are literally dozens of networking events in the Henrico area every day of the week. You can end up just running from meeting to meeting with little to show for it, other than heartburn from drinking lots of bad coffee. So how can you make your networking work for you?
Here are my top tips to help you get the most from attending networking events:
1. Be prepared. Have your essential networking tools with you - business cards, a nametag, and a pen. Know what you’re going to say when someone asks “So what do you do?”
2. Set a goal for the event. Keep it simple, start with how many people you’d like to meet. Make it a reasonable number, 3 or 5, not 50.
3. Act like a host, not a guest. Help others meet people who can help them. Give a referral whenever possible. Listen for opportunities to solve people's problems by connecting them with your referral partners.
4. Listen and ask the 5 Ws – who, what, where, why, and when. You have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionally.
5. Spend your time meeting new people and don't linger with friends and associates. You didn't come here to socialize with people you already know!
And the most important tip...
Follow up with the people you meet. Most people collect business cards and never do anything with them. Contact each of the 3 to 5 people that you connected with and invite them to a one-to-one meeting. Don’t just dump them in to your e-mail marketing campaign – that does more harm than good.
Remember that the purpose of networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. You should be planting the seeds for lasting relationships, not thinking about bagging your next prey.
The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.
Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.
Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.
At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.
Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.
The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.
Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.
The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.
The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.
“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”
The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.
Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.
Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?
Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.
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