I am a fan of relationships no matter the capacity because that is essentially what makes the world go round – people in relationships! One day last year, I received a Facebook message from a phenomenal woman in business whom I was introduced to about three years ago requesting my email address, and, of course I provided her with it – no questions asked. Minutes later, I traveled virtually to my personal email to find a formal invitation to the, “She Said, She Led, She is…Empowerment Dinner” networking and empowerment dinner for women in business.
Some of you may know that I am not only an author, but I am so independently which makes me solely responsible for marketing, sales, and, of course, not to mention, hiring a graphics designer, and anything else related to my book that I approach in order to further expose my work to the masses. Let me be the first to tell you – IT REQUIRES MUCH EFFORT. However, it is all worth it especially when you receive feedback from someone who has read your book for the first time and enjoys the content. Click here to see some of the awesome reviews I have received.
Now, back to the event…
When my sister-in-law and I, who is heading one of Houston’s newest professional consulting service companies, initially entered the Houston Area Urban League, transformed into the most beautiful dining space fit for queens, the ambiance was nothing short of inviting. As we checked-in, in the lobby, we were formally welcomed and asked to freely select our seats and to enjoy an assortment of hors d’oeuvres while we networked with the other entrepreneurs in the room. There is no need in me writing about any experience if I can’t be transparent, so let me share that this was my first networking event in a formally organized setting. I needed to share that to explain my thoughts further.
The invite confirmation instructed attendees to bring plenty of business cards. I, for one, decided to bring bookmarks (pictured below) that included my book cover and contact information, also inclusive of a brief synopsis of the story line and a snippet about me as my “business card” (it went over quite well I do believe). I wondered how I would be able to engage with strangers, some of which were heading companies that rake in $80 million and more per year. And in all of my questioning, you know what I found? A room overflowing with women who were eager to tell you about their business but were just as eager to listen to you about yours. I found women who were mature, graceful and cheerfully sharing information to help other women in the room thrive! Competition was absent while support was present. Gossiping was uninvited and complimenting one another’s goals and achievements was activated. As we sat fully tuned in to the panelists as they shared a wealth of information and answered questions from the attendees, I am certain that I was not the only woman in that space recognizing just how much more I can thrive in my field by applying some of the gems shared with us.
One of the highlights at the event that moved the entire room to a roaring applause was this:
An attendee stood up to address the panel on how managing a successful business and also managing home life can be overwhelming and hard even. A panelist responds with a brief run down on how she had to handle mommy duties before getting back across town to serve on the panel ending with, “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” Another attendee stands up to ask her question but initiates her spiel with a brief pitch about services her company offers which included personal assistant services and directs her attention to the previous attendee who was concerned about being overwhelmed and lets her know that her company could assist her if need be. The room roared with applause because this woman saw an opportunity to offer a brief sales pitch of her business, the exact services that a fellow business owner needed right then. It may sound minor, but it was AMAZING!
Certainly, I had a great time, enjoyed meeting new people while networking and the three course meal was simply magnificent. Did I mention that our catered meal was actually provided by entrepreneur chefs who were in attendance as well? And, we all know that a delightful meal would not be complete without wine, so they served that as well. I found the event to be more than a networking event, this was a support system! Now aside from the obvious good time I had, I walked away with some nuggets from the event that I will share as well as some of my own that hopefully will offer some insight on what you and I both need to do next in terms of cultivating healthy business relationships or simply staying the course to help our businesses grow.
Tip #1: Prepare for the Interview or Meeting
If the meeting is to land a new client for you to provide goods or services to, do your research (whatever that may be for your line of work.) For example, in my current 9 to 5 role, I support someone at the Chief Executive level so prior to my job interview, I researched him. I found information about various awards he had earned in his career and also found that he was an author – just like me! So, quite naturally in my interview, I found a way to mention that we had that in common. It was one of the things that worked! If what you find in your research gives you leverage in your meeting/interview, express to your client or interviewer how you can benefit them further or “better” than where they stand currently, then you researching them out may have just landed you a new client or new job.
Read this blog post on how to nail your interview!
Tip #2: Remember Who You Spoke With
I always say that I am not so great with names but I never forget a face. In business, this is an absolute no-go! You MUST remember the names of the people you met with or spoke with when seeking to earn and keep their business. I don’t know how hard that may be for some of you, but start practicing some strategies to improve your memory because there’s nothing worse than having a meeting go well only to see those whom you met with again and cannot address them by name.
Tip #3: Don’t Make Excuses, Make Time
I am a very busy mom (much like you) with children who are actively involved in school and sports activities. These activities require me to be all over the place at least four weekdays, plus the weekend. I didn’t want to miss this event that I was invited to but the time frame conflicted with me: a) getting my daughter from cheerleading practice and b) getting my son to little league football practice. I could have easily said I can’t go; instead, I reached out to family so that my daughter could be picked up on time from her practice and my son dropped off on time to his. Now granted, I had to leave the event about 25 minutes early to pick my son up, but, thankfully by then, I had already gotten a wealth of information, passed out some cards and met some great women. Haven’t you heard the saying that people make time for what they want to make time for? Well, the same saying applies to growing your business. You have to make time for your business and many times even sacrifices. How much do you want to see that business succeed?
Tip #4: Let Social Networking “Network” For You!
Social media is likely not going anywhere anytime soon – probably never, actually. Of course you can post things relative to your business all day long, but on these sites, you can have sponsored posts that will actually reach a broader audience.
- Facebook: You can have a page completely devoted to your business and on this page, you can sponsor your posts for as little as $5 in order to reach a larger audience.
- Instagram: There are countless business pages here as well. I have come across many pages that even have a “contact” button on them. Also, sponsored posts are available on Instagram but you have to have a linked Facebook account in order to use the feature. [Biz Fact: Facebook owns Instagram.]
- LinkedIn: Umm, hello?! LinkedIn is supposed to be the mother of business and networking so even if your posts don’t get as much traffic as your Facebook or Instagram, use it!
- There is also Snapchat and Twitter, Snapchat of which I currently do not use, but I may in the future. People use these platforms often to tweet or snap about their businesses.
- Advertise your business, products, events, craft, etc. on BlogXpressions.com, duh! You’d be surprised at how low the cost is for advertising your business on this site and be mindful of the amount of traffic this site gets daily/monthly. That means x amount of visitors see your advertisement!
I truly hope that you have not only enjoyed this post, but that you have found some take-aways that you can apply immediately to your next step. As always, we look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. Until next time Xpressers…XoXo!
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