Business networking: a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.
Business is about relationships. Relationships are between people. It’s because of the relationships we create that business happens. If you want to get ahead and stay ahead in business, if you want to create business, then you have to get out there and network. And recently, that’s exactly what I did. I was given an opportunity to volunteer my time, meet new people, and have a little fun too.
It started with a call for HELP! on Facebook. My girlfriends, Chel and Danielle, needed volunteers for a charity event. As soon as I read the posting I jumped at the opportunity. If a girlfriend is in need – I’m there. Now some of you may be thinking – sure Sharmi, you just wanted to wear that new little black dress you look so good in. And to you, I say, yes, that’s true.
But beyond the dress and beyond the free food & drinks there were more important reasons I decided to lend a hand.
First and foremost, this was a charitable event and honestly, I don’t give back enough, so this was a chance for me to at least give a little bit. The event was held as a benefit for the Children’s Cancer Center . The Children's Cancer Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing children who have cancer or chronic blood disorders and their families with the educational, emotional and financial assistance necessary to cope with their life-threatening illnesses. They serve over 850 families in the Tampa Bay Area. Cancer has affected my family in more ways than one. I lost my grandmother to cancer and my mother is in the bouts of a long-term battle with throat and lung cancer, so this was especially meaningful for me.
Secondly, with over 100 people in attendance, this was a great networking opportunity. And one thing I’ve learned through the years - Always Be Networking (ABN). Held at the Centre Club , a retreat for influential business professionals and community leaders, I knew this would be an ideal networking event, and a fabulous opportunity to meet new people, exchange thoughts, and establish new relationships. And that’s precisely what happened!
Hosted by the Triangle of Trust (TOT) and The Wealth Building Annex, FIRM Consulting Group , the M David Katz Company and Business Networking Life, this was both an opportunity to give and to create new relationships.
So I slinked into my little black dress, my high heels and off I went….
Upon arriving, I was assigned to selling "chance give-away tickets." Some people may call them raffle tickets; I kept calling them Lotto tickets! I was educated on the difference between a raffle ticket and a chance give-away ticket. There is a difference.
There were two of us selling the tickets and Katy Krienitz, the Queen of Coordination, had a fruitful strategy….hit 'em as soon as they arrive!
We positioned ourselves right next to the sign-in table. As people came in to register, they were greeted with our happy faces and a choice of either buying 1 ticket @ $5 or an arm’s length of tickets for $10. Needless to say, almost everyone went for the arm’s length deal. What a great way to drum up additional cash for the Children’s Cancer Center. And personally, I felt like I was truly doing my part. Nearly everyone that walked in the door bought tickets.
As the evening passed, I met business men and women from various industries. We talked, exchanged cards and made plans to re-connect later in the week. I’m thankful to have been part of an event that is more than simply food and drinks.
It was a party with a purpose.