Are you looking to market yourself or your business? Looking to expand your business or generate new clientele? Consider attending or hosting a Business After Hours. Networking events can be intimidating and uncomfortable at times. Yet, they can lead to vital business connections that can elevate you and your business to a new level. Sponsored by our partners with the assistance of the LSCP, these events allow community members to interact with other professionals from the area in a relaxed environment.
According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, networking "is the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business." Business After Hours gives you the opportunity to do just that.
The goal of a Business After Hours is simple, to help people engage in mutually beneficial relationships. In a world where everything is controlled by the internet or digital communication, face-to-face interaction has been becoming obsolete.
Networking events allow you to accomplish a number of important professional goals. They offer you the ability to gain business leads, find a job, hire good employees, sell products and improve your business practices while expanding industry knowledge. When you are networking, have a short elevator speech ready about content that is useful, informative and may solve people's problems.
The people you network with will naturally want to hire you, partner with you or buy your products because you have provided them with something they found useful.
Many people get nervous before social events and networking receptions. Here are some tips to help bring out your extrovert-self. Relax, smile and make eye contact. People like to see that you are friendly and can hold a conversation without being distracted. Try to have something to talk about and ask questions about what they do and who they are. Don't juggle a drink, plate of food and business cards all at the same time.
Hold your beverage or food plate in your left hand, leaving your right hand free to shake hands or accept a business card. The more you socialize and network, the easier it will be in the future.
Business After Hour events attract professionals from numerous different careers and areas and bring them to one neutral location. It is a perfect time to learn more about the sponsor business and what they are bringing to the community. Business After Hours are held at the business sponsor location if permissible, which gives you a great opportunity to tour their building.
At most Business After Hours, the business will use gift certificates and items from their store for prizes during the business card raffle. The sponsor and LSCP are doing most of the work for you; all you need to do is attend.
Business After Hours are held at some of Marquette County's most interesting locations and businesses. Typically held on the second Monday and the following Wednesday of each month from 5-7 p.m., these events are entertaining and enjoyable for all in attendance.
We are currently booking Business After Hours for 2014 and dates are filling up quickly. If you're interested in hosting a Business After Hours in 2014, contact Tina Lavalley at email@example.com or 226-6591, or log on to www.marquette.org where you will also find a complete list of scheduled events.
Editor's note: Amy Clickner is CEO?of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.