Last night was the first annual Young Professionals of Ames Hallowine bash at Prairie Moon Winery in Ames, Iowa. I was probably the first one to sign up because the Dueling Pianos of Andy Anderson and Mike Leeds were going to be there, and I love dueling pianos. Plus, I could wear my fancy witch hat! But, as it goes, it was a Thursday night with five meetings before the event and six on the docket for Friday. I was tired, and I had a million reasons not to go.
I went anyway.
Networking Gets A Bum Rap
People talk about networking a lot, but sometimes I think that it gets a bum rap. Networking events are just sales people passing out their business cards. Here’s the other excuse I hear – it’s just socializing, and no business is ever done. That’s really not the case at all.
Here’s the deal – networking is about a brand making friends.
Networking isn’t just about sales in the here and now, it’s about sales in the long run. And utilizing your network (a.k.a. circle of friends) for business related referrals and needs when the opportunities arise.
My Network Built My Business
I had ten excuses not to attend the YPA event, but I found ten more as to why I should go. And the number one reason was to see my friends. Building those relationships will go a lot further in my business than reading blogs all night. I know this to be true because when we started this business, it was my network that supported me by coming to my events, using my services, and most importantly… referring their friends to me!
If you’re running a small business, your brand voice is your own. And making your brand voice heard in “real life” is just as important as making it heard in your marketing and advertising.