I learned early on in my career that business is about relationships. But being new to the industry, I didn't know how to cultivate the necessary relationships that would be beneficial in helping me grow my business. Before long, I was being encouraged to attend business networking events, but found that most of the advertised events I went to didn't serve my purposes. What attracted me to Friends of Kevin is actually what makes the group so great; I was referred to Kevin Willett by one of his members, Brian Gardner. Since my initial meeting with Kevin, and after attending his networking events for the past two years, this is what I have learned from my experiences with Friends of Kevin: the people that attend his events and are in his groups are interested in providing competitive value to their customers. I choose to do the same by having a large network of trusted professionals, almost all of which were met through Friends of Kevin. By having experienced professionals in my network, who I now call friends, I become more of a trusted advisor to my clients than an insurance or investment salesman, because they can count on me to refer them to the right people, in addition to everything else I do. I'm able to be that trusted advisor, thanks to networking in Friends of Kevin
For me networking is a wonderful way to share my enthusiasm and passion about the business of not only teaching dance but connecting with our community and youth. You never know who you are going to meet, the people you can connect with, form relationships with and ultimately inspire or help. Also I use networking as a challenge to myself. Being somewhat shy by nature networking makes me step out of my comfort zone in return I have gained more self confidence and trust in myself.
Northeast Dance Center
4 Dracut Street
Lawrence Ma 01843
978 758 7160
Networking is, for me, a wonderful way to advertise who I am and what my business is all about.
I go to an event, meet great people, and try to connect them with other people as well.
I have always believed that what goes around comes around.
Sharing with those I meet just builds on the positive.
I admit to being tired after a long day and I may have to tell myself that I will just stay a short time if attending an event that night. Those are the times that have been the most enjoyable.
You never know who you will meet or who there will know of a person who might need your product or your help
I will always network. Why? Because I enjoy meeting new people and it's a wonderful way to practice my people skills.
I believe if you go in with the desire to help someone unselfishly, then that will happen and in turn they will want to help you.
As small business owners we all know the importance of stepping away from the daily requirements of operating our business to work on sustaining and growing our customer base. We also know just how impossible this feels at times. Organized networking organizations have been the best manner that I have found to motivate myself to schedule time for this most important activity. Prior to opening Craft Beer Cellar about a month ago, I was the owner of a very successful embroidery and printing business. Networking in several business, commerce and charitable organizations was a significant part of the marketing program that allowed us to start, grow and sell our profitable business. We belonged to these groups for the entire eight years of ownership, and truly believe that our success was due in large part to in person networking and the resulting word of mouth marketing. The cost effectiveness of this marketing approach is without question the best deal in advertising.
That said, joining a networking organization in itself is not enough. It does take some effort on the part of the business representative to attend group events and when possible, give back to others in the group. It is just as important to select the right networking group for your organization, a group that you are comfortable in, and one with the right leaders and members to be of mutual benefit.
One month into my new venture, and I am confident that joining the Friends of Kevin is one decision that will be essential to the success of Craft Beer Cellar. I am excited to be a member of this group, and look forward to making new friends.
Walter Miska, Head Beer Geek
Craft Beer Cellar of Westford
At Merrimack Analysis Group, our business success depends in large part upon word-of-mouth. Although we are developing software, and also offer consulting services, our primary function involves delivering seminars about online identity and online safety to groups, associations, and organizations, such as schools, libraries, senior centers, parent groups, and business groups. The value-add that these seminars provide is hard to capture in traditional marketing material, but word-of-mouth can do something more powerful than any promotional material can -- it enables people who already know and trust each other to promote us.
A typical sales cycle involves the three stages of (1) Know, (2) Like, and (3) Trust. For entrepreneurs attempting to reach a large audience across a wide geographic area, individually replicating that cycle with each customer is impractical, if not impossible. However, entrepreneurs can leverage the power of networks by building relationships with key individuals, who can then serve as amplifiers for your brand, and as force multipliers for your efforts.
To give a real-life example, we delivered a seminar to a job seeker group at the Danvers Library in May. The Program Director, who greatly enjoyed the presentation, reached out across the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium and a separate North Shore group with an e-mail emphatically recommending us as speakers. Now, when we contact MVLC Directors, the call is not entirely "cold" because they have a baseline familiarity with what we do -- and because someone who THEY know, like, and trust has recommended us. Many of the North Shore libraries who are not MVLC members belong to NOBLENET (North of Boston Library Exchange Network), which reaches into entirely new areas for us. As we continue to expand our reach west, north, and south, we are constantly learning about new networks that we can leverage in order to help us expand our brand power.
Each time, we are finding that we do not need to cultivate relationships with every single targeted customer; instead, we can build relationships by demonstrating our value to key network members, who are then able and willing to open doors for us that expand our reach across the network.
Dave Waldman is the owner of B2B Video Solutions and Treasured Memories Video in Bedford, NH. B2B Video provides the video services you need to market your business through video, while Treasured Memories is there for all the video services you need in your personal life.
Dave founded Treasured Memories Video in 2006 after recording video biographies for a couple of aging family members. He has a natural ability to make people feel comfortable in front of a video camera and draw out of them their experiences and life views. A few years later, he formed B2B Video Solutions to better brand the business video products he creates.
Networking is a large part of Dave’s marketing strategy. “Networking, both in person and online, is, by far, the majority of my marketing. I’m in a business that relies almost exclusively on referrals. Think about it; if you needed a videographer, your first thought would be to ask your friends if they have any recommendations.”
Dave is member of “Friends Of Kevin” and regularly attends events. “Networking is about building relationships over time. It’s not about meeting everyone in the room and passing out as many business cards as you can. At the end of the night, a lot of people may have your card, but what do they know about you? Why should they do business with you or refer you – you’re a stranger.”
“It’s also not about selling to the people you’re networking with. It’s about becoming a trusted business associate that your fellow networking partners are comfortable referring to the people they know.”
You can see samples of Dave’s work by visiting his website at www.B2BVideoNH.com or www.TreasuredMemoriesVid.com, or by visiting his YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/TMVDave. He can be reached at dave@B2BVideoNH.com, dave@TreasuredMemoriesVid.com, or (603) 566-3075.