When starting a new business, networking is widely regarded as a key to get going. Funds for advertising are slim, and probably not even a good investment for a private consultant. I am looking for solid long-term clients, not trying to sell a copy of a software program or widget.
One suggestion I kept hearing was “join the Chamber of Commerce”. Since I am taking the plunge on my 3Deers consulting business, I checked out the local chapter in Coral Springs. Wow, I am amazed at how everyone from members to the chamber itself has been so friendly and helpful.
A neighbor, Paul Kavanagh of Edward Jones, invited me as a guest to an event. He was great in helping break the ice and do some introductions. It is not easy going into a room of strangers to pitch a new business, but I quickly learned everyone else is there for the same reason. Almost like a dating scene where people gather to sell themselves. Instead of love, people gather to meet for business.
At the event, I met great folks like Richard Gerber of Bryason Realty Corporation. Richard made sure I knew about the many referral groups and invited me to attend. The referral groups are where I meet other business leaders in a more intimate environment on a routine basis.
My next event was a Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce “Wake Up Breakfast”. This was a large event sponsored by Al Hendrickson Toyota. Again, everyone was very friendly and working to help each other. The folks from Al Hendrickson did a nice presentation and even made an interesting offer.
Claudia Manick from Al Hendrickson Toyota offered to do “gift baskets” for charity. I am the head of the men’s group at St. Mary Magdalene Church and we had an event coming up which included a silent auction. I boldly approached Claudia to see if the offer was for real. Well, Claudia could not have been more gracious. Not knowing me other than someone at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, she was thrilled to help. I received the donation and it was the hit of the auction.
Starting a new company has many challenges, and getting to know people and sell oneself is certainly a big one for me. Whether it is Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce personnel like Amanda Gecse, or ambassadors like Paul, Richard and Claudia, folks have been fantastic. Like neighbors helping neighbors, with Coral Springs it really has been Chamber helping Chamber.