The Business Connection

It's an oxymoron to say you're anti social able, who is a successful entrepreneur. If you're that person, I would love to hear from you. Why am I saying this? Because in order to expand and spread the good news about what you do, you need to network. I love love LOVE meeting people, because you never know who you going to meet next. You could be 1 or 2 degrees away from the person that you truly want to connect with and be your next big break. I find it amazing in the things you can find out about a person in a single conversation. I could literally change your life forever. It's all about being at the right place at the right time meeting the right people. I'll give you a prime example. I currently work for a cleaning service company as their Administrative/HR Coordinator. (Yes, it is possible to be an entrepreneur and an employee at the same time. You're not going to be a growing success overnight.) One day I broke down and told her that I own a startup and she recommended that I go to an event that the City of Chesapeake was putting together. Of course, like always, I agreed to go. That day was the most resourceful and amazing day ever. Let's just say I met some folks from the Small Business Association that could take my company to the next level, and it all started with conversation. Networking to a business is like a heart to the body. It's a vital and important organ to how you grow your business.

If you find yourself having trouble starting simple, small talk remember these things:

1. Compliment the person that you're talking. If you notice something visually striking that they are wearing. Compliment them for it.

2. If you don't know anyone at the event, observe the crowd and find a friendly group to join. This one is pretty hard, so you have to use good judgement on this one. But I can say that that is works for me every time. 10 times out of 10 people will embrace you by introducing themselves and asking what you do. That's when you open the door and deliver your 15 second pitch about your business.

3. Look confident and approachable. If you're like me, who suffers from Bitch Face Syndrome, then you look grumpy all the time, even when you're not mad about anything. Body language and facial expressions says a lot about a person, so be sure to carry yourself with pride and confidence.

4. It's best to be an introvert and extrovert. There are a lot of people who fail at simple things like this. Be sure to listen to what the person has to say then provide feedback on it. It shows that you're a good listener and that the possible relationship can be mutually beneficially.

5. Keep in touch with your network. Ensure that you follow up with the person that you spoke to. Ask them out for coffee or lunch to talk over the potential partnership between both companies. Just be sure to compliment them and that you value what their company has to offer. People who are selfish do not last long in business.

The key thing to remember is to please the person that you're networking with. You can leave a very impressive and lasting impression on them.

-Nisha Witt


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