Networking in New England

Wade K Meyer, M.Ed. Host Inviting Conversations

The little town of Killingworth, Connecticut, at the last census, had about 6500 people. There were 117 people in my high school graduating class of Haddam-Killingworth Jr-Sr High School. There were a few large, well-known employers in the area, including the different railroad companies and the RR Donnelley & Sons printing company. Most of the businesses though were small single-owner or family-owned businesses. We knew the owners of the Killingworth Pharmacy and the Killingworth Inn.

Many of us are owners of our own small businesses, and networking continues to grow in its importance for small business success. There are networking events to attend. The use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is also important. But a good friend and successful small business owner, Alison, would tell me that for a small business to succeed, part of that networking had to be New England tea and cookies.

The New England tea and cookies concept means taking your stack of business cards and allocating four hours a week to inviting four different people to your office just to talk and learn about his or her business. This is not an attempt to sell. This is an attempt to get your know your neighbor, so that you know what he or she needs, and what you can offer or what referrals you can make. Growing up, we knew a lot of people in our neighborhood, and knew what their businesses were “about.”

What have you done to make your office setting warm and welcoming? Is there coffee? Do you have comfortable chairs? Nice music? Once you have created this setting, what are you doing to invite people to stop by your office or store? Open houses and special events may be effective for general exposure. So, serve tea and cookies, and get to know your small business neighbor.

About David Luke Kurtz

Born in Kittery Maine. Went to Curry College in Milton Ma. Moved to Ohio in 1990 & in August of 2008 created Dangerous Inc. Joined the Network Leaders alliance in 2009. Have been growing the business since. Promotions and events specialist providing key marketing support with expertise in advertising, marketing, promotional events, branding, and public relations. More than 10 years experience successfully executing more than 200 events. Proven ability to plan, coordinate, and successfully execute promotional campaigns, special events, and conventions.
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