When you hear someone like best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk talk about “business development”, he is usually referring to sales. Or from his perspective at least, all the marketing aspects that lead up to the point of sale; advertising, public relations, product promotion and social media. But, depending on the business model, a key tool to marketing is that of personal networking. There are some great opportunities to do just that here in Middle Tennessee. Until recently, many of these meetings have been offered at breakfast or over lunch.
But these get-togethers are more than just exchanging cards. It is a chance to make true relationships and gain the insight to help grow your business. One such group is Rutherford Cable, which boasts over 250 members. “Cable is the premier leadership organization for woman’s professional advancement.” Says Missy Lay with the group. They meet with limited occupancy, but still conduct facilitated networking, both at the table and through the use of breakout rooms online.
Local insurance agent, Josh Minton was one of the founders of such a group in 2017; Connect Nashville. “We decided to start a meeting of our own that focused on building genuine relationships. We saw a real need in the networking community for helping people connect without wanting something directly in return”. Minton continues; “We genuinely just want to see other people grow, and over time we will all grow together.” Nashville Connect has several chapters that meet throughout Middle Tennessee, including one in Murfreesboro. Many have gone online, though, Murfreesboro is just now starting to meet in person again. Check online for specifics.
Though, with the pandemic, it has been hard for entrepreneurs to get out and about to connect with other professionals who might be able to help promote business. For this reason, a lot of local networking groups have gone online. This is a good alternative for those who are still anxious about venturing too far from home or the shop. Truth be told, online is a medium that should have been utilized long before Covid. “It certainly was an adjustment at first, but our leadership team has come together to help the meetings run smoothly and assist those who may not have ever used Zoom before”, Minton States. The lack of travel time and big meals just makes Zoom meetings convenient for busy professionals.
Jim Furbush, account representative with ITEX and a board member with the Nashville Association of Sales Professionals (or NASP) stated: “This new way to network has allowed me to do business out of the area and occasionally out of the state. Even if we don’t do business with each other directly, having a large number of familiar businesses to refer makes me a resource and keeps me in contact with a lot of people”.
A local business owner, Luis Roque is this year’s president of the Rutherford Independent Networking Group, or RING. “RING is a great place to build lasting relationships with fellow Rutherford County business professionals. We really wanted to create a space where people could learn about each other’s businesses and help each other succeed”. Though the organization has had to meet over the internet, it is still very active.
But another aspect of Business Development, is of course, the professional development many business owners and independent contractors receive from networking groups. Many will offer an educational component on goal setting, better communication, leadership skills and all those aspects that do lead up to a point of sale. For this, another worthwhile group to check out is the Nashville Networking Business Luncheon. The NNBL always provides a 10 to 15 training session to offer information that will help business professionals. They also meet online every Tuesday. Check their website for a complete schedule.
If you are a business owner, two things are certain; online meetings are here to stay, and (fortunately) Covid is not. The two main resources for growth are time and money. Some may have more time on their hands than they wish, so NOW is when to take advantage of it. Sharpen your skills by attending webinars, reading a business book, or visiting some of these fine online networking groups.
Connect Nashville; https://www.facebook.com/groups/ConnectNashville
Blaine Little is the founder and CEO of Momentum Seminars Training & Coaching, helping companies remain profitable by investing in their people. Learn more at www.MomentumSeminars.com
Be sure to get his new book; “Managerial Mistakes, Missteps & Misunderstandings” available on Amazon in late September.