By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
by Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president
Last week, we closed the office on Friday for our annual bbr marketing planning day. As most of you know, it’s tough to completely shut down, even for just one day, but we have found that it is time well spent. We take a look at the year that is nearly over and discuss what went well, what can be improved and how we are growing. We also take time to anticipate and plan for the upcoming year, discuss changes that need to be made and debate the best way to handle any issues that need to be addressed. <Stay tuned too, we have some fantastic things on the horizon!>
During this discussion, we were talking about networking and why it can be so intimidating. I remember when I started this company over four years ago, this was the part that scared me the most. I know it sounds crazy, but I hate the idea of “selling.” While I knew it was important if bbr marketing was going to survive, the sheer thought of it gave me a stomachache.
That only lasted until I started doing it. I set a goal of a minimum of three networking meetings a week, which could include an official networking event or one-on-one meetings over a cup of coffee or lunch. I stuck with it, too. What I quickly realized is that networking is nothing more than having a conversation with someone. That’s it. Sit down with a new acquaintance, find common ground and get to know each other. In most cases, you both know you are there to talk shop a bit, but I’ve found that it’s the conversations about your hobbies, families, friends and other things that allow you to connect the most.
Once I realized that, I actually started looking forward to my three networking meetings a week. And they paid off in a big way. Not only did I get to meet many fascinating people, I was also able to refer business to them and vice versa. I made some lasting friends, learned a lot and indeed, my business did start to grow. Which brings us back to our planning meeting last week and the bright future ahead.
Rather than facing the idea of networking with dread, look at it as a great way to meet new people, learn exciting things and yes, potentially add new clients. What do you think?