I hope that the title lives up to what I’m about to talk about with this specific entry. So here goes nothing (and everything really lol).
You network on a daily basis, whether you notice or not. Picture this; it’s Friday, you stopped at your favourite coffee shop that morning, listened to your preferred podcast of choice while you were working and now you’re getting your hair done. While you’re processing, your stylist is telling you she needs to switch out Netflix for something more thought-provoking, so you mention the podcast you’ve been enjoying. At that moment, you notice how beautiful her eyelashes are and she tells you about her lash girl. And voila! Four lives were positively impacted, simply through a real, genuine conversation. AKA – Networking.
The reason why I wanted to talk about taking the business out of networking is that no one wants to be sold to right now. If you’ve looked at any sort of business stat, there is a clear indication that businesses are suffering and owners are looking for support and solutions versus a sales pitch. They are looking for connections and possibly some empathy. In doing so, you usually end up talking about how you can help them regardless.
This is a real-life example. Lolo Loves Local has a sister company, Trade Exchange Canada (or TEC because we’re very hip). My work partner and I went in for a hair appointment with Ana Perju (she’s very sweet and has the cutest setup, make sure to check out her Instagram @anaperjuhairartist) who has been a client with TEC for just over a year now. In this time, she began to share her working space with Jura of Radiant Renewal Wellness Spa (@radiant_renewal.wellness.spa), who does teeth whitening. Through Ana and Jura talking, Jura quickly became a TEC member. While we were there for our appointment, I spoke to Jura and Ana about the lovely Montana (@nursemontana.aesthetics), who is responsible for keeping my forehead looking top-notch (yes, injectables, come for me, I dare you). Jura also had a local masseuse come straight to the shop, who was just starting out her business. I gave her my card and let her know we would love to have her on as a client (a masseuse that comes to you? YES PLEASE). And just as the icing to the cake, Jura gave me the contact info for her lash extension provider. I can’t even keep count of how many interactions, potential new clients and business connections there were, but none of it had an ounce of the business feel to it.
I have to believe this is the new era style of conducting business and deals. I can understand for someone who is more old school and is used to heading into a meeting with a full pantsuit and briefcase, it seems illogical, maybe even unprofessional? But are you more likely to reach out to the person who made you feel comfortable, like speaking to a friend, or something that didn’t feel as genuine.
If you are a small business owner reading this, I encourage you to check out TEC (@tradeexchangecanada) to start the process of networking. It’s easy and there are already 400 other local, Okanagan-based businesses on there. We’ve created a fun, safe space for you to get yourself seen and offer a ton of support. If you are a consumer, talk to your friends about your favourite places to go. Tag them on Instagram! We currently have a contest going on right now that’s open to anyone and the only thing you have to do is shop local and tag them in your pictures or videos. That’s it.
As always, please feel free to start the conversation in the comments below. The more we talk about each other, the more exposure we all get!
I’m also going to link a great article I came across that has 18 tips for great networking in 2021 – let me know if you give it a read.