Articles

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By Pat Hammond

Happy Friday!

Before I get to this week's events, I want to take a minute to remind you that networking isn't a passive activity.

Whether you go to events or prefer to do it one-on-one, networking requires that you actually go out and meet people. You have to be visible and you have to nurture connections so they become valuable relationships.

In my experience, the number one reason people give when asked why they don't network is they're not comfortable walking up to a stranger and introducing themselves, and I get it. It's hard to know where to start, especially when you are facing a room with a hundred complete strangers, but you know what, you don't have to.

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By Pat Hammond

Please Support Your Small Business Community

I shouldn't have to point this out, but these are your friends and neighbors, the people you meet at the supermarket, and on those cold January mornings when you're digging out the snow plowed up at the end of the driveway. Local small business owners are the people who sponsor Little League, provide the jobs and the services we need and they can't do that if we don't support them by buying their products and services.

Between now and December 25th Queen City Buzz is giving over the top half of the home page to promote local businesses.

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By Pat Hammond

What's Your Networking Style?

This past Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary for Queen City Buzz's Coffee Buzz Networking group. It was a great meeting with a lot of new faces and quite a few people who have been many times and at one point the discussion rolled around to the question of how and why we network.

Everyone has their own reason for networking. For many of us it's to build new relationships, but other people may be trying to make a sale or connect with a specific person or company, and sometimes, it's a little of both. Whatever your reason, be sure to remember that you will be much more successful when you tailor your networking efforts to your networking style.

  • Are you a focussed networker who only wants/needs to reach a specific person?
  • Are you comfortable walking up to strangers and having a conversation?
  • Do you prefer an organized event with guided activities?
  • Or do you favor small networking events that provide a more organic environment for introductions and conversation?

You have to know why you're networking and what your style is before you can successfully choose a group or event. You also have to be realistic in your expectations and think beyond direct connections.

A large Chamber of Commerce type event may be a great way to meet local business leaders, but it can feel like a meat market.

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By Pat Hammond

Building Relationships

Do you know what's even better than a Monday? When Monday is the first day of the month.

I don't know why, there's just something clean about it, a new month, new week and a new opportunity to succeed. Can it get any better?

Since this month's Coffee Buzz Networking is tomorrow I thought it would be a good time to talk about How to Leverage the Power of Your Network.

As a lot of you know I recently teamed up with Chris Pastrana from NH Business Show for a Veterans Day promotion and this would never have happened if it wasn't for our network.

We didn't know each other and even though we do basically the same thing as far as promoting local businesses, we haven't been to any of the same events and don't know all that many of the same people. But we had one person in common, Piper Turgeon from Eco Chic Interiors.

Piper met Chris at one of the Gold Star Referral Club meetings, one thing led to another and she gave us an introduction. Now we're working a joint project and it's kind of big.

This is what I'm talking about when I say the "power of your network."

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By Pat Hammond

A few words about networking...

I meet a lot of people who don't quite know why they're supposed to do networking.

Some people think that it's all about the sale, others think that it's about collecting as many business cards as possible, and then there are the people who smile, shake hands and leave the networking event with five or six business cards stuffed in their pocket with no idea what they're supposed to do next.

It's hot so I'll keep this brief. If you're putting off networking because you're afraid of sounding like a salesman, let it go.

The reason we network is to build relationships.Relationships open doors and give us credibility. They put us in touch with potential buyers and business partners, but that's it. Some of the people in our network may end up as clients, but that's not why we cultivate the relationship.

If you're shy and uncomfortable walking into a roomful of strangers set a goal of meeting just one person. Maybe it's a specific person who can get you an introduction to someone else, maybe it's just someone who has a nice smile and looks like they would be easy to talk to.

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By Pat Hammond

Let's be perfectly clear, it's All About the Money...

Whether your ideal customer is another business (B2B) or a consumer (B2C) your goal is to make money and the only way to make money is to find people willing to pay for your products and services.

If you're selling something everybody wants, needs and can afford everything is probably hunky dory, but when was anything ever simple?

In the real world, money is tight and want will always outweigh need once you get past the basic necessities and if your product or service isn't hitting the sweet spot you're probably spending some of your time wondering where to find the next customer.

It doesn't matter if your business is B2B, B2C, selling one-to-one or one-to-many there are tried and true methods of reaching your ideal customer and making the sale.

Join us for Coffee Buzz Networking 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Tuesday, July 5th at Aroma Joe's Coffee 2 S. Beech Street, Manchester. We'll be sharing tips and talking about how to find the next customer. I'll even share my three favorite tips for finding and booking new clients.

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By Pat Hammond

What do you do for a living?

We've all been there right?

You go to a networking event, hand someone your business card, give them your elevator pitch and they still walk away with a bewildered expression.

Why is it so hard to come up with a one line sentence that succinctly describes your job?

It's usually the first question someone asks so why aren't we ready for it?

It's not so bad when you work for a big company and people can draw the line between a job title and what you're likely to do there, but once you're on your own, things can get tricky.

A lot of soloists cater to a micro niche or offer a range of different services that make it difficult for people to pigeonhole them.

It's not rocket science. You know what you do, the people you work with know what you do, so why is it so hard for people you meet to figure it out?

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By Pat Hammond

Taking the work out of networking

When I first started working as a small business consultant every client seemed to struggle with something different. For some it was marketing, for others it was sales, accounting or even product development. Networking almost never came up as a topic of concern so you can imagine how surprised I was after starting Queen City Buzz that the number one thing people want to hear about is networking.

Who knew?

In my mind networking is probably the easiest task on a small business owner's to do list. You meet people, have a conversation, shake hands and follow up. Easy peasy, right? Apparently not.

For a lot of people the fine art of networking is confusing, terrifying and completely overwhelming.

The good news is that this month's guest has the tools and tips you need to take the work out of networking.

This month we are talking networking with Mingle to Millions maven and creator of the New Rules of Networking, the one and only Cami Baker.


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By Pat Hammond

Next week's big event is the local Google Developer Group's Android Study Jam. I can't even begin to describe how excited I am about this course.

Android Study Jam is a free five-week introduction to building Android apps for beginners.

Tech can be intimidating when you're first starting out and it's a major milestone for our local tech community that we have enough experienced developers in New Hampshire willing and able to give their time to help new developers.

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By Pat Hammond

Networking 101 - 3 Hours to Success

In case you hadn't noticed, I spend a lot of time talking about networking and it's not just because I enjoy it.

The fact is that the ability to network is the number one tool in a successful entrepreneur's toolbox and a lot of us don't know how to use it.

Part of the problem is that people don't know what networking is. They think that good networking is handing out a set number of business cards or reciting your elevator pitch to three or four or five people at an event, but they're wrong.

Networking is about making meaningful connections. It's about building a community of people that can help you connect to the people you're trying to reach. It's about quid pro quo and connecting the people you meet to the people they are trying to reach.

A lot of people are uncomfortable in group situations, they're afraid of being judged, they're afraid of people thinking they're pushy and they're afraid of screwing up. But you know what, this is learned behavior and you can unlearn it.

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