May 2016

News From The Louisville SBDC

  Hot Tips for Networking

Ahhh, networking!  It can be the burden of start-ups, but a boon to successful businesses.  Merriam defines networking as the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.  Cultivation means to grow or raise something under conditions that you can control...SO... Networking is something that YOU can control!  However, the mere mention of this word can make even the most intrepid entrepreneur break into a serious sweat.   

Believe me, I understand.  There are tons of people to connect with, and you have only a limited amount of time, energy, and mone
y.

What should you do? Miguel Hampton of F5 Enterprises, LLC advises, "Create a networking plan and strategy. Know who you want to meet, study who they are, what they do, what their interests are and lastly know how you can help them and what they can do for you."  Creating a plan for networking efforts helps to reduce stress, alleviates frustration, and manages your time effectively.
You have created your plan. You are at an event and there are 1,000 attendees.  You see someone you want to meet.  
What do you do, what do you say?  Terri Weber, Retention Manager for Greater Louisville Inc., suggests, "When walking into a room of people, don't get intimidated by sheer numbers, breathe...and focus on connecting with one person, one conversation, and one relationship at a time. Be a listener. Be willing to listen and help others. Ask questions. What brought you here today? Tell me about yourself (or your business). The most important question is:  How can I help you? ".

Okay, you just walk up to the person and speak. Sounds simple enough, but this is possibly the main reason, the elephant in the room, the Big Kahuna of why people shy away from networking. I reached out to some savvy networkers and asked them for some tips for overcoming this fear and/or some suggestions for developing a great network. Here is some sage advice:

"Finding a sincere purpose for being with someone that is positive and pure, and finding the good in that person brings joy to the shared time and energy for me.   Leaning towards curiosity in a conversation instead of being a know-it-all and trying to perform and or be perfect feels good and natural to me. If I go into a situation with a common purpose of reaching the community goal, then I feel like a good team player, and fear dissipates because I then attract like-minded people to play on the team with me. Typically, if I keep an open mind, stay humble, and find value in another person, there is no room for fear- we can then all faithfully move on knowing our unique traits and bring greatness to the table."  Abigail Mueller, The Abigail Academy, Owner
"The secret is just being genuine and always open to opportunities that are mutually beneficial. It's easy to focus on what others can do for us, but when we focus on others and what we can do for them we build trust. When we build trust we build the personal and professional relationships that are necessary to be successful. Try not to have a cynical view of networking."  Alex Wimsatt, Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director
Taking the time to truly build a relationship with the people you want to network with. People refer people they know, like, and trust. So taking the time to build a REAL relationship can prove to be invaluable. If you spend more time getting to know the person or people who you choose to network with, you may find it a lot easier to share what you do with others." LaShawn Anderson-Monroe, The P.E.E.R. Group, LLC, Vice President of Business Development and Consulting
"Find a way to personally connect with people on more than just a business level.  Find similarities in your personal life, shared hobbies or interests so that you develop a relationship on a deeper level and that you have more in common than just doing business together.  Remember that everyone is in the same boat.  Almost everyone that is trying to make connections has the same worries and fears.  Remember that the benefits of networking will last longer than the fear that you are experiencing at that moment." Shelley Goodwin, Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, President
Some closing advice -

"Step out of your comfort zone and put yourself in places, where the people you would like to meet are. For example, if you would like to network and meet the local Elected Judges, identify what events, fundraisers, golfing-outings etc., they attend and head that way. I believe we choose to be intimidated, we choose to be afraid, and because it is a choice, I simply chose not to be. One of my many healthy choice habits is to choose to learn what I don't know, recognize my degrees of strengths and build upon them. This helps me identify what might make me afraid." Miguel Hampton, F5 Enterprises

"Follow up immediately - if you attend a networking event and bring back a stack of business cards and put them in your desk drawer, you've accomplished nothing.  Waste of time!  Follow up with a phone call, e-mail, thank you card.  Just do it!  Don't wait for your new connection to contact you.  Let them know you are interested in them.  See what you can do to help them.  Be willing to help!" Terri Weber, Retention Manager, Greater Louisville Inc.
Toni Sears is a Management Consultant at the Louisville Small Business Development Center. She can be reached at toni.cardell@uky.edu

 #bizbuzz

The first week in May is not only Derby time; it's also Small Business Week.
On Tuesday, we traveled to Frankfort for the Kentucky Pacesetter Awards. 
Tradition is to rub Abraham Lincoln's foot for good luck.  Dave felt that if you could rub his knee it would give you three times the luck.

Below - (l) Cherie Guilford, SBA, with Toni Sears and Verna Goatley, Louisville Metro
(r) Dave and Vallorie with Marge Berge, KSBDC Central Office, and Mark Murphy of Morehead SBDC

On Wednesday we hosted a Google #onthemap event.  And it just so happened to be May 4th, aka #starwarsday #maythe4thbewithyou


May Workshops
More Info

Own Your Own Business
May 21
8:00am-3:00pm


Business Plan Boot Camp
May 23 - May 25
6:00pm-9:00pm



What to Know When Buying a Business
June 1
6:00pm-9:00pm


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