August 2020
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The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
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Targeted Networking

 

Targeted Networking

If you are one of those business owners or managers who hate networking and are secretly glad that in this COVID-19 era the in-person, cattle-market, speed-dating type of networking events have been cancelled then read on. Of course, maybe a new kind of torment has been unleashed on you and you feel obliged to "attend" virtual networking events on Skype, or Zoom, or one of the dozen other videoconferencing platforms. Many people hate these more than live events but they are the new reality and we'll have to get used to them or live in business isolation. Whether you love networking or would rather poke your eyes out with a sharp stick than spend an evening with dozens of businesspeople holding stacks of business cards, there is a value in connecting with like-minded individuals and groups.

In this article, we ask you to think about networking a little differently. Think about it as making new long-term friends rather than one-night stands. Here are some ideas for proactive, targeted, virtual, networking that will allow you to connect in a meaningful, valuable way.

COVID has in many ways made the world smaller. The barriers to connecting in real life went up, but they came down when it comes to virtual meetings.

Create a series of lists of people you would actually like to meet. Break your lists into general business, industry, big idea, and personal. Add or subtract lists as you see fit, these are merely suggestions. Your general business and industry lists might contain potential customers, competitors, people you admire, people who you feel you could learn from, or people you feel might benefit from your help and advice. Your "big idea" list will be much shorter and contain people who you feel are inspirational or doing something innovative. These are people that you'd like to be around (albeit virtually), people you respect. Your personal list should contain those people who have your back. People who support your business, and your career. They can be friends, colleagues, business acquaintances, etc.

How do you find these people? Some you will already know and others will be featured in newspapers, business magazines, or who have been interviewed on television, or whose blogs or podcasts you have watched. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites are awash with people sharing their stories and advice, you just have to look for those to whom you relate. And, don't be parochial – think nationally, and even internationally. The sky's the limit.

Invite a select group of people to a virtual networking meeting. Choose a video conferencing platform and learn to use it effectively and invite people on your lists to join you for a time-limited, intimate, and targeted networking session. Explain why you are holding the session and that, in light of the current situation, you wanted to reach out to people you respect to discuss issues of mutual interest. You can start slowly and at first invite people who you already know, but as soon as you feel comfortable begin to invite those on your wish list. The key will be to show the value they will gain from the session.

Tradeshows and conferences. Earlier in the year, you may have planned to attend a tradeshow or conference which of course will have been cancelled. Consider why you were going to attend. Perhaps you wanted to meet up with certain people, or sell to a particular market. If it's the former, reach out to them anyway. A simple message that you were hoping to see them at the tradeshow/conference but the pandemic got in the way and you'd like to set up a virtual meeting. This could be a single individual, but also consider bringing a group together and making a presentation, with a discussion to follow. If it's the latter, consider pulling together your own virtual tradeshow. Sounds complicated? Google "virtual tradeshows" or visit "vFairs.com" or "virtualtradeshowhosting.com" and you will be surprised how easy targeted tradeshow virtual networking can be.

Don't let COVID-19 put your business into quarantine. Seek out the competitive advantage that targeted networking offers your company.

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Targeted Networking

 

It's a Great Time to Write a Book

Here we are still in pandemic mode, even though things maybe opening up a little. If you are not working at full capacity, why not spend a little of your spare time writing a book? Now, don't do a knee-jerk and think, "What? Are you joking? That's far too much work and anyway I'm not a writer." We're not saying you have to write a 300-page tome that will be published in 18-months' time by a traditional publisher – although that would also be a great way to go. Books come in many shapes, sizes and formats, from that bookstore bestseller to a simple 48-page eBook based on existing material you have laying around.

Search for advice about sales, marketing, growing a business, or even installing new windows and almost certainly one of the hits on Google's first page will be a book on the subject written by an expert. At that point, you might check it out, peruse the reviews, read some sample pages, and possibly purchase the book. If the book tells you what you need to know and the author comes across as an expert, you might reach out to them for more advice, buy what they sell, or hire them to assist you in your business or with a project.

Why? The author established themselves as an expert on the topic and, in your eyes, became a credible authority. You gained a level of trust in them, far greater than if you had simply looked at their paper credentials. Almost everyone has a degree but how many can write a book? An MBA proves someone attended classes, but a book demonstrates they know how to put what they learned into practice.

A book confers status better than just about anything else. Authors get invited to talk at conferences, they are interviewed by the media and called upon by anyone looking for expert advice.

Take nationally known (now anyway) financial planner Tim Paziuk who refers to his book on setting up professional corporations, as a $50 business card. Since becoming an author he has been invited to write for Huffington Post, speaks at dozens of conferences a year and has seen his business grow beyond his wildest dreams. His books have made him an industry expert – the go-to guy in his field.

In many ways, a book is a subtle sales pitch. It outlines your theories, opinions, and general expertise on whatever you are writing about. It implies you know more than is in the book, potentially far more valuable stuff and what's more there is an unspoken promise that you can help the reader implement the strategies you expound.

People are drawn to experts. It's a trust issue as much as anything – a book makes you a known entity. Plus, books confer celebrity status. For instance, ghostwriter Mike Wicks once wrote a book about a small city, it was certainly not high-profile, nor full of ground-breaking advice like some of his other titles. However, a year or so after he self-published he attended an open house in the city and the realtor's assistant offered him a copy of his own book. He smiled and said that he already had copies as he was the author. You would have thought that he'd just said he was Blake Shelton – he was immediately treated like a celebrity and was asked to sign copies of the book, one especially dedicated to the young assistant.

Being the author of a book can be a powerful thing – it can catapult you to new heights within your industry and help grow your business and personal notoriety like nothing else.

If you're thinking, I don't have time, or I'm not a writer, don't let that stop you. You can use the services of a ghostwriter or even an English major from your local college or university who will help you conceptualize, structure and write your book. And, remember, you might already have a lot of the material for your book hanging around on your computer right now if you just look.

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Targeted Networking

 

Coach's Corner - How do we manage our thoughts and feelings?

"There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning are all linked."
— Eric Jensen, Jensen Learning Workshops

In her book, Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart, Mary Beth O'Neill speaks of three key factors for leaders – business results, leader interpersonal behaviours, and team interactions. Working in these three areas requires both "intellectual rigour and emotional intelligence." Although many leaders are intelligent, quite a few lack the emotional intelligence to achieve extraordinary success.

Emotional intelligence can be viewed as using information about one's own emotions and that of others to becoming more successful. There are basically four levels for leaders to successfully manage themselves and others. These are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills.

Self-Awareness is to know ourselves by understanding our feelings and emotions, and observing patterns in our past behaviours. When we are more self-aware, we will be more mindful and able to avoid those past negative behaviours. How aware are we of our emotions? What negative patterns have we observed in the past? What are some of the triggers to our emotions?

When we are able to recognize and in turn label our own emotions, we can start to accept them. Self-management is when we develop strategies to both accept and manage our emotions. It is known that many negative barriers to achieving success are direct results of anger, anxiety, or unhappiness. How do we learn to accept our negative emotions? What can we do to use them in positive ways? How can we turn anger into compassion?

As leaders, we need to have a good understanding of those with whom we work. Social Awareness is about recognizing the emotions of others and showing them understanding and empathy. In order to lead effectively, we must truly understand those who we are leading. How can we truly understand the emotions of those we lead?

Social skills are the fourth level of emotional intelligence. Effective leadership is based on healthy relationships with colleagues and staff. Successful teams are developed and influenced by leaders who have trusted and empathic relationships with their team members ensuring their commitment to the success of the company or project. What have we learned about our team to ensure success?

Emotional intelligence is something we need to incorporate into our culture in order to be more successful in our business and personal lives.

"Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the "success" in our lives."
— J. Freedman, specialist on emotional intelligence, an author, and the CEO of Six Seconds.

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching

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Scott Medlock<
(Hope/Boston Bar)

Vice-Chairperson:
Victor Smith
(Hope/Boston Bar)

Secretary-Treasurer:
Karma Kubbernus
(Cache Creek/Ashcroft)

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Michelle Hawkins
(Logan Lake)

Director:
Andrew May
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Dona Radomsky
(Logan Lake)

Director:
Yoriko Susanj
(Savona)

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Debra Arnott
darnott@cfsun.ca

Business Development Officer:
Tracy Kubik
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Linsie Lachapelle
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Marshal Kraus
Business Development Officer Intern
mkraus@cfsun.ca

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