National Small Business Week is being held May 1-7, but we're continuing the celebration throughout the month of May, discussing small businesses and the crucial role they all play in the success of our thriving local communities.
Join us as we cover best practices, next steps toward success and the challenges small businesses face (as well as how to overcome them). If you're a small business owners or dream of one day following your entrepreneurial dreams, you don't want to miss this month-long series of useful content and tools for success.
What Can Small Business Networking Do for You?
As an entrepreneur, networking is a key activity that is not only enjoyable, but critical to your personal growth and business development.
Small business is all about networking, building relationships and taking action.
Building a successful business takes a lot of time and drive, so it’s good to have a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep you going. By surrounding yourself with people who share a similar drive and ambition, you are more likely to move forward as a group.
But that’s not the only benefit of networking. In fact that’s only the beginning.
1. Shared Knowledge
Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge. Whether it’s asking for feedback or discussing your point of view, it will help you expand your knowledge and allow you to see things from another perspective.
It is also likely that within a group there will be those who have already been where you are today. This provides you with an opportunity to learn and avoid some of the common pitfalls they experienced.
It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities. The thing you will not know is when or how they will materialize. Whether it’s a referral, offer partnership or request for your service or product, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.
Remember you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room, you are building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, if you have made an impression, you will likely get a referral.
And remember it’s not just a one-way street. If someone in your network matches a business you encounter at an event, don’t hesitate to share their details. It will only strengthen your relationship.
By regularly networking, and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, it will help increase your confidence. This is an important attribute as a business owner, because your business growth is dependent on talking to people and making connections.
Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognize you. This can you help to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it. You are also more likely to get more leads and referrals as you will be the one that pops into their head when they need what you offer.
If you're interested in learning more about networking or any other aspects of small business ownership and success, there's no better place to find expertise and guidance than from a seasoned small business owner, banker and professional -Don't miss your opportunity to ask Seacoast's Executive Vice President, Small Business Banking Leader, Julie Kleffel any question you'd like about small business in the form below.
AND mark your calendars for May 31st at 12pm EST, as Julie hosts a #SeacoastSmallBiz Twitter Chat with Seacoast Bank(@SeacoastBankCom) to provide insight on her own experiences as a successful small business owner, mentor and lender, and dive deeper into how to launch, nurture and grow successful small businesses in the state of Florida.
ASK A SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT A QUESTION:
About Julie Kleffel
Julie Kleffel is Seacoast Bank's EVP, Small Business Banking Leader. She joined the Seacoast leadership team as a result of a merger between her former institution BankFIRST and Seacoast Bank. She is responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing the bank's small business banking strategies and initatives statewide. Prior to the merger, Julie was BankFIRST’s Executive Vice President and Commercial Sales Leader. She has over 19 years of overall banking experience, plus was a successful entrepreneur, having owned and sold four small businesses.
As a fourth generation Central Florida native Ms. Kleffel has strong ties in the community. Ms. Kleffel currently serves as the Treasurer for the Garden Theatre, Executive Board Member for the Dr. Phillips YMCA, Finance Committee for the Central Florida YMCA, and Executive Director for the National Entrepreneur Center. She is a Lifetime Director for the West Orange County Chamber of Commerce. Previously she served as the Past President for the West Orange Committee 101, Past Chairman of the Roper YMCA, Past for Oakland Park Foundation Board, and Past Advisory Board Member for Westside VoTech. She is a graduate of Leadership West Orange.
A graduate of the ABA National and Graduate Commercial Lending Schools, Ms. Kleffel has also received the prestigious “Certified Lender Business Banker” designation from the Institute of Certified Bankers. She completed her professional education by graduating with distinction from the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. Her graduate Capstone Strategic Project was published by the ABA immediately following her graduation. She has served as an Advisor and Advocate for the school since 2009.
Connect with Julie Kleffel on LinkedIn