Networking and Loss

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Networking.  What do we know about networking?  We know it is big in Dayton, Ohio.  We know there are a multitude of networking groups that offer meetings in the morning, at lunch and after business hours.  We know the goal is to meet with other people to see if our business is a good fit with theirs, how and if we can partner with other businesses and to get to know people in hope of gaining referrals.

Loss.  What do we know about loss?  We know it is traumatic.  We know it is heart breaking.  We know there are a multitude of emotions that are ever-present with loss and grief.  There is shock and disbelief, infinite bursts of sadness, disconnection, feelings of anger and lethargy.

I met my friend, Linda Lee Rahn, at a networking meeting a little over 3 years ago.  Tragically, Linda lost her 29 year old daughter in October.  In addition to everything the Rahn family was going through they also found themselves with sudden and unexpected funeral and estate expenses.  Something that no one experiencing this type of loss should have to deal with.

Networking.  What do we know about networking?  I know that in less than a day and a half, 45 people from local networking groups helped to raise over $4000.00 in donations via a Go Fund Me campaign for the Rahn family.  I was overwhelmed with the donations, calls and e-mails from people that Linda and I had met at networking events.  So many reached out with prayers, meals and support.  I will now think of networking in a totally different way.   Yes, it is still about business but I have seen that for many of us it is also about friendship, compassion and encouragement.  Thank you so much to the people that reached out to Linda during this time.  Please continue to do so.  I am proud to be part of the Dayton networking community.

About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri helps small business owners save time, money and frustration by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks.  Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.    www.anotheryouerrands.com  937-416-2207

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What Are You Willing to Give Up?

ZVJ6OumLI run my work days by a schedule. Everything that I need to do is on my Google Calendar.  In my line of work, working with multiple small business owners, this is a must.

I am happy to say that MOST things that I have scheduled are completed each day and deleted from my calendar.  There are some days, where I cannot get to everything on my list.   I start with my highest priority:  1) client work 2) volunteer obligations 3) my business.  Some days lessor priorities do not get done and they are moved to the next available day.  This brings me to this Blog Post.

“Write and Publish Blog Post” was originally scheduled on my calendar for 4/15. Well today is 04/27 and I am just now getting around to starting it. Obviously, it has been moved multiple times on my calendar.  Priorities got in the way.

 How do we get everything done that needs to be done?

What can we put off or even give up?

What can we delegate?

Every small business owner that I know has this same problem; too many tasks and not enough time. As I grow my business and gain more clients I have found it necessary to give up some of the scheduled things on my calendar:

1) I network more strategically.  Networking has been a HUGE part of building my business. In fact, it worked so well that many days I can’t find the time to network!  I still want to stay in front of the contacts that I have made and still like to meet new people. But it has become necessary to me to cut back on meetings and decide which groups are really worth my investment of time.

2) I have also tried to schedule more telephone meetings than actually meeting at an office or neutral location. The drive time alone is a huge time saver and I find that people are more focused during telephone conversations; maybe because they are just as busy as I am!  Of course, I do meet with all my prospects and referral partners face to face if they wish.

3) I believe that Social Media is important-more for some industries/companies than others. I have cut back on the amount of posts that I schedule per week. To date, my clients have come from strategic networking and word of mouth.  I want to stay in front of my contacts and remind people what I can do for them so I continue to have a presence on a few social media venues (only the ones that reach my target market).  Cutting back on the times that I post per week has allowed me more time for my clients.

Try stepping back and looking at your calendar to see what things you may be able to remove to make more time. For me, I actually recorded, how I was using my time. This made it very clear to me what needed to go or be reduced.   For my clients, it was a matter of hiring someone to help with all the things that were on their calendar.  I would love to hear about some of the changes that you have made to allow yourself more time to run your business.  What have you given up?

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

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What to Wear?

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Networking outside the office is your best chance to meet new people who can help promote you, your passion and your business.  It’s also a no-man’s land when it comes to the dress code.

Early in the year, I met a woman slipping and sliding in a parking lot walking into a networking event…it was winter in Ohio! We struck up a conversation about the icy sidewalk and when we finally got into the building she confided in me that this was her first networking event.  I showed her to the meeting room and told her that she was welcome to sit with me if that would make her feel more comfortable.

After our official introductions, she told me that she had intended to be at this same event last month, but when she saw what everyone had on, she turned around and went back home. She said she was a “jeans” type of person and not comfortable dressing up.  The first thing that I did was applaud her for actually making it to the meeting that morning; she wore jeans but did not turn away and go back home.  The second thing I did was point out to her that there were others in the room that had jeans on.

What should we wear to networking events? At most networking events that I attend, I see people wear what they would wear in the course of their normal working day, which means that there are a range of outfits from suits, to business casual, to jeans, uniforms and even exercise apparel.  I guess you could ask yourself, what is the norm of my industry, profession or company?

Another thing to consider is what type of event will you be attending?

Where and when is it?

What is on the agenda?

Many small business owners think about what they wear as part of their personal branding – for some that might mean wearing uniforms or polo shirts with their company logo, but for others it might just be a certain style or color.

I tend to dress as if I were going to see a client; although I do dress differently depending on the industry of the client that I am meeting. It is ALWAYS important to be well groomed. Depending on your profession, I think it helps to wear what you feel comfortable in, that way you will feel relaxed, can be yourself, and can enjoy the occasion.

First impressions do matter. What also matters is that you attend the event! I am proud that his strong lady was able to walk into the event, even though she was concerned about what she had on! She made a good, first (and icy) step toward growing her business. Luckily, she works in a “themed” industry so it will be easy and appropriate for her to wear jeans with her casual themed shirts and jackets.

How do you decide what to wear for networking events?

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.   http://www.anotheryouerrands.com      937-416-2207

The Networking Event…To Go or Not To Go

networkclockBefore you leave your office you take a look at the calendar to prepare for tomorrow.  There it is… that networking breakfast, lunch or meeting.  Also on tomorrow’s calendar is a mile long “To Do List” of things you HAVE to get done.  What do you do?

I opened my Personal and Business Concierge service, Another You,  almost a year ago.   Like with most start-ups, I had a lot more time than actual work.  In the beginning.  I considered Networking to be my full-time job.  I had to get my name out there!  I needed to build a network of people who I could refer to, count on, and hold me accountable.  I understood that building relationships would build my business so I visited as many networking groups in the Dayton area as I could find.  After a few meetings, I joined as many as my small budget would allow.  For the past 6-9 months, it has not been uncommon for me to have 5-7 networking events scheduled on my calendar each week.  I agree with  Alan Collins , that, “Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time.”

Because I am blessed, have worked hard and have had the help of supportive people in my life, my business is really starting to grow!  Now I find that I am having a hard time fitting in client work, networking, and the administrative tasks of my business.

  • Decisions:  If you skip the networking meeting and use that time to work, you might actually be able to complete and cross off most items on your To Do List.  That then leaves time in the day for family, friends; whatever you enjoy.  Work-life balance is very important.
  • Decisions:  I find that networking can be fun.  My business has grown because of  networking.  I am still looking for new clients and feel that networking is the best way to market my small business.   Cindy Gaboury Co-Owner of Audio, Etc. , who I met through networking says,  “If it was important enough to you to add to your calendar, then you should attend the event.”

So how do you decide on how many networking events you attend?  How many events do you add to your calendar that you do NOT attend?  How much time do you devote each week to networking? Just how important is networking to your business?

headshot     About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal and Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.   Sheri helps busy people with a focus on the small business owner.     Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.        937-416-2207