The internet is a great way to grow your business, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people, particularly mom entrepreneurs, tend to get stuck there. Building a website, answering emails and circulating through the social networking sites can keep you “busy”; however “busy” doesn’t grow your business. To grow your business you must get out and network.
I challenge my mom entrepreneurs to choose a networking month. This is a month where she will go to a minimum of 3 events in her community. This is indeed a challenge for mom entrepreneurs because of the children. Most of my clients have hip-sitting babies, needy toddlers, or older children that must be picked up and dropped off different places. I have all of those so I understand the difficulties. However, nothing makes you feel more professional then interacting with unfamiliar adults, giving them your rehearsed pitch and hearing their responses! So many mom entrepreneurs come back to me rejoicing because I MADE them get out and network; it takes them to another level.
To aid you in your networking adventures here are some tips.
- Prepare a short speech. Some call it an elevator speech, sales pitch or your Who & What statements. Whatever you call it make sure to make it interesting and rehearse it. It should tell what you do and for whom you do it. Prepare one that is 20 seconds long and one that’s 60 seconds long.
- Dress professionally. Yes, there are some networking events where casual and business casual are acceptable; however I advise my mom entrepreneurs to dress up. It takes you out of the Mommy mode. Clean up your shoes.
- Make sure your handshake is firm. Connect fully with “the web” between the thumb and fingers. Don’t you just hate when a person hand you four wimpy fingers for you to shake?
- Remember to update your hair, clothes and make-up. This isn’t an issue for most mom entrepreneurs under the age of 30; but for some who have been out of the work place for a while it may be. The 80’s style is in woohoo! But you can’t pull out your 80’s clothes…you shouldn’t even have 80’s clothes! The style may be in-belted jackets, puffy sleeves, shoulder pads-but the material and colors are different.
- Do your nails. It doesn’t have to be a professional manicure. Clean them, clip them and use clear polish. This is also the time to wear the nice rings that you don’t normally wear.
- Don’t forget to accessorize. I must admit I’m challenged with this one. I don’t like jewelry. My ears aren’t pierced. Watches, necklaces, bracelets even my wedding band is extra “stuff” on my body! So I keep a bare inventory of accessories-1 gold, and 1 silver of everything-that I use only when absolutely necessary. Networking is necessary. As much as I believe in making your own rules there are times when we should play by the rules.
- Wear, put on, take with you anything that helps you feel confident and successful. It can be underwear, stockings, a piece of jewelry, a purse, a technological gadget, a photograph in your purse, or an affirmation in heart that you mutter to yourself. For a couple of my clients it was me on the cell phone talking to them as they drove there and walked into the networking event! Whatever you have to do to keep yourself feeling confident and successful DO IT!
- This is NOT the day to uncontrollably spray on your favorite perfume. I don’t think I need to explain this one.
Tomorrow, I’ll give tips on what to do with all of those business cards.
update: Click here to read: Business Networking-before, during and after!