When people attend networking events, they do so to gain something: referrals, exposure, connections and, of course, the opportunity to grow their businesses. At all these events, you find the expert networkers who know how to work the event to their benefit and those who believe leaving with a fistful of business cards makes their time worth the effort.
Let’s focus on our group of experts to see what they know that we may not. The expert networkers know that relationship-building is so much more important than that fistful of cards. And they tend to have their elevator pitches down pat. That’s the 30-second gem that pinpoints your company’s unique selling proposition. That’s what makes you and differentiates you from your competition. And it can be recited in the time it takes an elevator to get from one floor to the next – hence, the name.
If you are a local business owner and are looking to invent your pitch or want to try out your tried and true favorite, there are many established networking groups throughout South Hillsborough County. However, I never get tired of bragging about my favorite networking experts. It’s a group of networkers from the South Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce. Our group – the Exchange – meets every Wednesday in the backroom of Denny’s in Ruskin from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each week we bring together area business owners and marketers to share their missions and visions. In addition, we’ve built a network of partners who keep an eye open for new opportunities for each other. They realize networking is most effective and rewarding when it is mutually beneficial. As we say at the Exchange, we prefer doing business with people we know.
The invitation to attend these weekly networking meetings is offered to all chamber members. However, if any local business owner would like to attend, but you’re not a chamber member yet, we would like to invite you to join us for two meetings to check out how it works. That’s usually what it takes to turn you into one of our valued chamber members. Since we prefer to do business with people we know, come join us at The Exchange so we can get to know you. We want to help you grow your business. And to my regular Exchange peeps. I’ll see you Wednesday! We’re going to keep those referrals flowing, and, of course, eat lunch.
Lynne Conlan is executive director of the South Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.