This was my stance, this is my stance, this will continue to be my stance. This is also the furthest thing from the truth. Networking meetings are energizing and feel productive.
As an introverted business owner, I feel the pain. Let's take it back to normal times before the pandemic. The thought of going to an event with people (known or unknown to me) wearing name tags and making small talk, ugh. Just ugh!!! Did I ever find my groove doing that? No. Did I envy others who seemed to love it, revel in it, and devour it? Yes. Those people were the extroverts. Damn them. But those people made my time easier at those ribbon cuttings, leads groups, and after hours meetings. Often, they came up to me to talk. If I knew them, they tried to connect me with others who were seeking my services or had some other useful connection. Do I miss those events? Do I miss the high of a few brief chats and giving out some business cards? Eye roll.
That's a really cool picture, don't ya think?
Here we are, one year into a pandemic that rocked the small business world, and everything else that once seemed normal. I see local chambers of commerce coming back to in-person, masked, and name tagged events. Good! Small businesses have had a very rough year and need to find some normal, and hopefully, business boosting strategies going forward. Am I ready yet? Eye roll.
I am one of the many who changed and/or pivoted their business during the pandemic. If I join the same chamber of commerce that I belonged to prior to the pandemic, I will be arriving to events as a different business person. Yes, I will know some people, but I will have to explain what happened to my last business and explain my new business. That's a lot to conquer as an introvert. Eye roll. Would they be friend or foe? I think friend. They are good people.
My business landscape has changed. I no longer own a local brick and mortar health/wellness shop. My new business is online. My target audience has changed. My ideal clients live everywhere, not in a small geographic community. In fact, I have gone into the business of small business marketing & networking. Yes, promoting communication for a living. Eye roll.
Will I join a chamber of commerce this year? More than likely, yes. After a year of isolation, I really think I will embrace the in-person connection. Chamber events were created for human connection and to promote business visibility. Yes, you may see this introvert going to in-person events this spring. Will I still want to leave as quickly as I arrived? Likely. Ugh. I have actually made better human connections with business owners through virtual meetings this past year than I ever did going to a ribbon cutting or an after hours event. Perhaps, the pandemic changed me. Maybe, now more than ever, I am ready to socialize in-person. Okay, just typing that statement gave me a flash of nausea and panic.
I don't know, rethinking it already.........
I've grown to love the human connections behind the computer screens. Just yesterday I had a meeting with someone 100 miles away. We were happy to see each other. We asked how we could help each others' businesses. It was fulfilling. It was energizing. I didn't have to go anywhere. It wasn't nervous small talk. It cemented the ever present philosophy that finding human connection is a cornerstone of developing small business. I do hope that small business people, regardless of sales methods (online, brick and mortar, direct sales, commissioned services), find their way back out into the open this spring and summer. That life will resemble some form of normalcy. We all need that. Not everything can or should be accomplished by use of the keyboard. Exhale, breathe, see people again. Celebrate and support small business. Make connections. Help someone feel energized about their business. Reach out to the introverts.
PinPoint Networking will be here for some extra virtual connections when you don't feel like going anywhere, dressing for the occasion, or wearing a name tag. You may not get the high of passing out business cards but you may actually connect on a better level. We are a human, not corporate, support system. We'll join you for a virtual at-home coffee or cocktail. We'll listen to your business woes and successes. We'll help you strategize. We'll help you shine. We'll treat you like family.
Julie and Nick
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PinPoint Networking Blogs: Reach out if you have a small business story to tell, hints and strategies for small business, business relationships to talk about, a small business pivot or start-up story, or would like a personal blog written about your small business or industry.
PinPoint Networking: Email us to connect, or sign up for one of our events.
Ahh, travel! We hope you get to travel for pleasure, see your family and friends, and forget about small business, at least briefly, in the coming year ahead. Best to you and all of your accomplishments. Fly, be free! Peace.
About Julie and Nick:
Julie Schumann is the creator and visionary at PinPoint Networking. Julie graduated from CU Boulder, a long time ago, with a B.S. in Marketing and Tourism & Recreation. Subsequently, she graduated from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY with a B.S. in Health Sciences and an M.S. in Physical Therapy. She has worked in the physical therapy world for the past 20+ years. She is now putting her efforts into the creative space of small business marketing and networking. She has two grown children and a very aged dog. The pandemic has given birth to a new couch-bound & walk-time relationship with aforementioned dog. She also really likes hanging out with Nick. Together, they can't wait to travel again.
Nick Altomare is also the primary creator of PinPoint Networking. He graduated from Boston University, a long time ago, with a degree in Communications. He brags about his time working as gopher for Liz Claiborne and slightly moving up the ranks in that company. Subsequently, he spent 21 years in Burbank, CA working as a media buyer for long-form infomercial airtime. Ultimately, he started his own media buying company, which was successful until people stopped watching television commercials. Somehow, his work has probably touched your life, if you've ever (late night) purchased a Chop-O-Matic, Veg-O-Matic, Turkey Fryer or other irresistible item. He shifted careers in 2016 and is now a busy residential real estate agent along Colorado's Front Range. He spends time supervising virtual home-school for his high school son, Ethan. Nick is looking forward to travel and healthier planet.