Five Kinds of In-Person Business Networking

There are so many different ways to participate in business networking.  Some methods of networking are more effective for certain types of people and businesses than others.  Below is a list of a few different types of business networking available in person. Our events tend to be a combination of one or more of these examples. Our networking meetings are usually quite casual, informal and everyone is welcome to attend.  Which types of events do you prefer based on your personality and business’ needs? Leave your comments below!

1.  Speed Networking

Speed Networking is what you would imagine it sounds like.  It’s speed dating for business.  Typically, you get about 1 minute to give your elevator pitch and then another minute to listen to the person in front of you.  Then the bell rings and you move to the seat next to you.  There are a few of these types of networking held throughout York Region and there are some people that love them and some that hate them.  I’m somewhere in the middle.

I think Speed Networking can be useful if it’s for a very targeted purpose or industry.  There is a group I’ve heard of (and unfortunately I don’t recall their name), that holds speed networking events to help people within the technology industry find business partners or potential suppliers.  The idea is that you are bringing together people with a specific need together.  For example, I may have a great idea for a new product, but need to find a mechanical engineer that would be interested in partnering with me.  In this case, 1 minute is all that you need.

Speed Networking can be useful for looking for specific types of partners or organizations you may want to work with, but is usually less beneficial for finding potential clients directly.

2. Chamber of Commerce Events

Every Chamber of Commerce has their own events as well.  They vary from social events to learning events.  Chamber events tend to have high attendance numbers since they already have such a large membership base.  Some drawbacks with such large events is that it can be intimidating for members that are shy to participate in an open networking format.  The benefit is that if you go often enough, you will start to see familiar faces and that may help you feel more comfortable.  Events are usually free for members, or they get a discounted rate.  Membership can sometimes be a bit outside the budget for a small business owner that is trying to market themselves and grow to the next level, but is usually beneficial to the more established and stable businesses.

3. Organized Networking Groups

Organized networking groups like BNI, Le Tip and BCX are also very popular. These groups tend to have very structured and formal processes in place for networking and referrals.  The all operate slightly differently, but some examples of the features of these types of groups (and I’m generalizing) are:

  • you may be expected to produce a certain number of refferals each month
  • they may only allow one person per ‘category’ – exclusivity
  • meeting are predictable (Usually on the same day and time each week or month)
  • In some cases the same people always attend. (Benefit if you want to build relationships, drawback if you prefer to meet more people)
  • There maybe high costs to join (although some have proven systems that show if you commit to their system you will see greater benefits).

4. Forums and Learning Events

Networking can happen anywhere.  Most business organizations hold some sort of learning event (we will be holding several starting this fall) where business owners and professionals can not only learn something to help them run or grow their business, but they can also meet other business owners that share a similar interest.  This is a great way to network as you usually have more time to chat and get to know other small business owners that are attending..

5. Tradeshows

Tradeshows are another opportunity to network your business.  The decision you need to make is whether you want to be behind a booth or in front of it.  Depending on your business and budgetary constraints, you may not be able to afford buying a booth, so that decision may be simple.  However, if you’re not sure which would be best for you, here are a few things to consider.

Booth:

  • Useful if you have something people really want, and want to learn more about.
  • Easier to have discussions with interested people about your products or services
  • A visible presence may help to reinforce your brand recognition
  • You may be listed on the event’s website or program and/or have other advertising opportunities available to you.

Attendee:

  • You can choose who you want to speak to at the event and avoid the booths that don’t interest you.
  • It’s a bit more difficult to gain brand recognition on a one-on-one basis.
  • You have more opportunities to connect with the rest of the attendees.
  • You can leave early if you find the event isn’t suited to your needs (It’s a bit more difficult to pack up a booth three hours early.)

Happy Networking!

read more

Our #YRSBizMC #MentorsCAN Tweetup

We had a blast last week at our #YRSBizMC #Mentorscan Tweetup !  Not only did we have over 60 people attend in person, but we also had many participating online using our hashtags.  Our online engagement went beyond the walls of our gracious hosts at Alice Fazooli’s in Richmond Hill.

 

It was a great evening of hearing some amazing stories from fellow small business owners who have used Twitter to help grow their business.  Everyone had a different experience, background or lesson to be learned.

A great start to the night with stories and advice from Jim Pagiamtzis and Mike from FS Local.  We are still waiting for those videos to be available.. but you can catch the rest of our speakers on our YouTube channel.

Chris Donnelly from Pixelbrand

Sandy Avvari talking about Social Media

Christian Anderson from Alice Fazooli’s

Gemil Lacroix from G1000 Home Inspections and YRSBiz

We also had our special guest Tweety show up and make his way around the room.  Check out the rest of our pictures on our Facebook Album!

 

Big thanks to all of our mentors, everyone who showed up and everyone who followed online and supported us!

 

read more

Entrepreneurs’ Journey – Be Inspired

You wake up one day and you’re two years shy of 40. You’ve reached a point when it’s no longer about the pay check or title. You know something is missing: You want significance, to make a difference, to give back, to connect, to grow, to be fulfilled, to have time-freedom, to ‘work-to-live’ and not merely ‘live-to-work.  You want to thrive and not just survive in this new ‘Empathy-driven’ economy! You come to the realization that you would have to give up something to get the time you need to pursue the life of your dreams.

And so, you give up a six-figure `safe` world, you take up a part-time, minimum wage job, and as you go through the repetitive motions of ‘work’, you hone your ideas and spend your lunch hours scribbling them on now tattered papers. Of course, the people in your life look at you and even though they don`t say it aloud, you know what they`re thinking: `Are you absolutely crazy! ` You learn to practice selective hearing and ignore the pitying glances.

Yet the ideas won`t leave you, you simply light up when talking about your vision, time flies when you work on your business plan. You know in your gut that this plan is also your life plan. And life doesn’t stop; commitments to Mr. Rogers, Madame Bell and Ms. Enbridge still need to be kept! So you make sacrifices, cut off cable, stop eating out, become a coupon collector and a bargain shopper. You build a strong bond with the local library and develop inhuman radar for store-wide ‘sales’ and get on every thrift store’s mailing list.

Yes, the ideas keep you up at night and so you pray harder and cry to the universe for guidance. And finally one day, you finally take the plunge! You start small, you tell a friend, and a family member and you ask them to tell others. You find a network of fellow ‘crazy’ people to motivate and guide you. But even with all the passion, fire, hard-work, the butterflies won`t leave you, the nerves hit you again and again. But you just keep going…a little step each day.

You worry about monetizing what you love. Will the clients ever come? You worry if it makes sense at all, and wonder if they’re right and you’re just wasting your time and throwing your life away. You begin to question if you missed the easy turn to ‘Reality-Land’ and took the enticing but difficult turn to ‘La-la Land.’ You look around for resources for small businesses and stumble upon an amazing life-business coach Mike Klingler and his unique approach to ‘Attraction Marketing’ in his School of Online Business.

And then suddenly, after years of slugging away, you wake up to find strangers calling you, emailing you, texting you, begging to buy your products and services. They`re now your biggest and most passionate advocates and are happily spreading the word for you. You know you’ve hit the sweet spot when they`re actually PAYING you to speak, to share, to collaborate with them. You begin to glow, and radiate that unique light of success.

And like a miracle, you, who begged and bugged friends and family to refer clients, utter these magical words: `I am not currently taking clients at the moment, but is it okay if I put you on my waiting list?` And as soon as the words leave your lips and you hear their excited voices saying: ‘yes’, you begin to sweat, to tremble, to shake and you double over with joy, with humility, with gratitude, with love and so you fall on your knees and as the tears roll down, you whisper again and again: ‘I am grateful, thank you, thank you.’

And with clarity, you realize that you must share this. You must tell other budding Entrepreneurs like yourself, those crazy souls around the world, who are busy with the balancing act, chasing dreams, pursuing passions, going against convention, staying up at night with ideas…You must encourage them to keep going, to never let up, to never, ever give up because one day soon, they too shall say: “I am not currently taking clients at the moment, but is it okay if I put you on my waiting list? ”

 

The preceding is a guest post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Wealth Management Consultant & Lifestyle Coach at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Investment & Financial Literacy for women. Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc

 

Photo credits: sidewalk flying and waynesutton12 via photopin cc

 

read more

Let’s talk Business . . . Books

Our first Business Book Club meeting for our re-launch was a huge success!  It was great to see so many people come out to discuss and share their favourite business books.  There was some great conversation about the various books and business topics in general.  Of course, I was so busy talking I forgot to take pictures!  Below are some of the books we discussed.

The following books are available from Kobo.  Click the cover to get it!

Subramanya shared this great book that anyone who is having difficulty embracing change should read. It is an easy read that makes it simple to understand why we not only need to embrace change, that we should always be on the lookout for when things are changing so we can anticipate it and ensure we are ready to adapt when it happens.

 

 

Malek brought her favourite book by the son of the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.  This great read show how trust is so important in business and relationships and how your negative actions can impact the trust others have in you.  Many of the prinicples outlined in the book are also applicable to your everyday life with your family and friends as well.

 

 Dr. Brian Keen shared his thoughts on Kevin O’Leary’s book.  This autobiography is filled with business tips and suggestions to help entrepreneurs.  This one generated some interesting debates as we argued whether or not he wrote it himself, and of course his personality on Dragon’s Den.  An interesting fact we learned was that Kevin O’Leary is dyslexic!

 

 

We were also fortunate to have Dr. Brian Keen with us as he was the author of the Applied Business Ethics: Volume 1 which his wife Jean brought with her to discuss! Click on the cover to purchase the book on Amazon!  Or visit http://vaughanpl.info to get it from the library!  They ordered two books during the meeting for their collection!

 

 

Anita shared with us The Power of Why by Amanda Lang (from the Lang and O’Leary exchange).  Asking the right questions can fuel innovation and inspire curiosity.  She shared a short excerpt from the book that included a list of what most business owners do wrong!  We could all relate to at least some of those points!

 

Sandra brought her recent favourite, Getting Things Done by David Allen.  It was also the first book read at the original launch of the Business Book Club a year and a half ago when YRSBiz was first founded! Getting Things Done provides a concept with concrete steps on how you can be more productive and stress-free on a regular basis.  This method works not only for business, but is most effective when you apply it to your whole life.  Sandra’s also a huge fan of using Evernote, which is a software program that let’s you implement the GTD principles in your every day life!

 
What are your favourite business books? Share below or join us for our next meeting, coming up in January!

read more

Embracing an Innovation Mindset

Innovation is a word rife with meaning and, in the business world, it is often associated with the activities that are risky and on the “cutting edge”.
This interpretation can act as a barrier and prevent us from being innovative in our businesses.

The reality is that innovation are all of the steps we take to do things better, smarter. That reality is one that all small companies need to embrace if they want to stay in business.

Here is an example.

Chinese food is one of my go-to meals for those busy days when I don’t have the time or energy to cook. I can’t remember the last time our family actually sat down to eat in a Chinese restaurant; we always order take-out.

When I think about ordering take-out, the picture that immediately pops to mind is a dark, uninviting restaurant that feels tired, with aging décor and a bunch of empty tables.
One day I decided to pop into a new Chinese restaurant and was blown away by the “innovation” the owners had applied.

Instead of the usual crammed space where people could wait for their orders, the restaurant had been designed around the needs of take-out customers. There was a pleasant, but small, cluster of tables in the front for eat-in customers and then a large, brightly lit area in the middle of the store with comfortable couches, a large coffee table and clean, glossy magazines and a few newspapers as well.

The approach to the interior design of the restaurant was innovative, but it was not overwhelmingly difficult to achieve. The innovation in this case was the way the company took a customer-centric approach to their store design.

An innovation mindset can be as simple as a paradigm shift, where you look at different aspects of your business and ask “how can I do this better” or “how can I put my customers first”?

It’s really quite simple and can have a powerful impact on your business success.

This is a guest post by Julie King.  Julie King is the co-founder and president of Biz-Zone Internet Group Inc., a technology company that specializes in online publishing and website development for member-driven associations. She is also the co-founder and managing editor of CanadaOne.com®.  As the publisher of CanadaOne Julie is responsible for content and technical development as well as marketing and strategic partnerships.  Be sure to check out their upcoming Un-Conference that we are participating in on October 15, 2012!

read more
s2Member®