I decided to write this post while at the 2014 Small Business Academy last week. Why? I was listening the speakers and I realized I only wanted to meet someone from two of the organizations represented today. I don't want to hand my card to everyone. (Someone actually did this, shamelessly.)
As I have become more seasoned as an entrepreneur, I realized some things are not for me. Two of those things: coffee and massive networking events.
Here are 5 reasons why I hate networking at huge networking events:
1. Someone assumes that they know all about me and what I do. It never fails at each event someone blurts out, "I already have an accountant! " or "I prefer to use Turbo Tax.". The truth is: I am relatively new on the scene. I am here to make new connections, that's it. Keep calm... please.
2. I am handed a business card, and there is an expectation I give mine back. I only go to an event with 5 cards. And I give them out with a certain level of snootiness. I listen to the person to see if there is any genuine business interest in having my info. If there's no interest, why bother? And unofficial reason I do not give my card out is I receive enough spam and unusual newsletters already.
3. Some folks just talk too much. I admit I ask a lot of questions, so I can listen for a need for sort. But I shouldn't know your how life story after asking, "What do you do?"
4. Those sticky name tags are the worse. They never stay on! Also, people just try to read your name tag to figure out who you are. How about you just ask me what my name is? At some events, the name tags are color coded. In those situations, I always pick a random color just to screw with people. Sometimes the colored name tags identify me as prey for some sales people.
5. No one likes to follow-up except insurance agents. I always hear the" I need to meet other entrepreneurs." and a bunch other statements from those who say they want to network. I meet these folks all the time, but they don't call back or respond. WTF!
I usually stick to smaller events that based in communities throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Why? I get better leads. I meet great people every time. And I get the best word of mouth testimonials from these groups. So I am sticking to my gatherings, breakfasts, and lunches at co-working spaces, local non-franchise restaurants and coffeehouses.
If you have a strong dislike for networking events, read this article. It gives some tips to help those who absolutely hate networking. It also links to another article called 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking.
Thanks for reading my rant! Hopefully you got some useful information out of it.
Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being fluent in plain English instead of “Accountant-ese”.
I frequently get updates via email about the latest news headlines, etc. I received one that caught my eye for two reasons: it was about money and marriage. Being that money is usually the number reason why married couples fight and get divorced, I never thought the two mixed very well. And honestly, I feel that what’s mine is mine! But the article gives a brief summary about why one should go through the suggested checklist. But I am going to provide a clear do-it-yourself debt credit cleanup (if necessary) for you and your future spouse.
Don’t just take out the trash; take out your credit reports/scores too.
Every year, you and your future spouse are allowed to get 3 free credit reports. You are allowed one from each bureau: Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. I strongly suggest checking all three, as errors can be listed on all reports, some, or just one. By combing through the reports, both of you can literally see what you two are up against financially. Once, you checked the reports, I would suggest checking your scores as well. Typically, you can get access to your score from each of the bureaus for a fee. But sometimes you can get access to your score for free if you sign up for a monthly membership and cancel it after the trial period. Note: I recommend that you use the 3 sites above only. There are a lot of “knock-off” credit score websites out there.
Talk the talk, and walk the walk
Now that all of your financial skeletons are out to the closet: talk about it. Create two set of goals: one for short-term goals to be met in 1 month up to 1 year, and anything else should be considered long-term. Also, be sure to include something rewarding, like a vacation or some luxury item that is affordable. Make a budget based on all sources of regular income, and compare it with your goals for a reality check. If you are having trouble making a budget give me a call or try a “budget theory” like this one. Something will probably have to be put aside if it is not a high priority. For instance, purchasing a new 90 inch HD TV in 6 months can be a financial goal and a reward. But let’s not give it artificial priority when a high interest credit card could be paid off in the same time frame. One last thing, open a joint account for the wedding and establish a regular savings plan! If you are having trouble
Cross all the T’s and Dot all the I’s
Exchange and vows and become one. Then make all the necessary adjustments and updates regarding: health insurances (pick the best option), life insurance policies (again, pick the best), bank accounts, and credit card accounts. If you are sharing everything, then do it all the way! Also, this would be a great time create a will and, or a living will.
Shoot for the moon and the stars
Again, this is another planning step. But it’s planning for your life after marriage and in the future. Do you want a home? Are you going to travel frequently as a couple? Are you going to have children? Whose is going to retire first? There is a boat load of questions that need to be answered before and after marriage. As long as it is feasible and affordable, why not incorporate it in your plan? Even if it sounds ridiculous to you but is the dream of your spouse, look into it. Honestly, your financial plans should mirror your lives. As result, it will change as life changes.
Have a question about this article? Ask me here!
"Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is" is a journal about real life experiences and answers to tough tax questions posed to Jéneen R. Perkins, Owner of Eclat Enterprises, LLC