Mind your Mingling: Who are You Spending Time With to Generate Business?


By: Katrina Pfannkuch

As an entrepreneur, making sure you get out and connect with as many people as possible is part of the deal – in person and online. But the spray gun approach to networking isn’t necessarily the best. Without an idea of how you are truly adding value for people in a way that works for them, you waste their time and your own.

But what, you ask, about spreading the word as much as possible?

Part of planting the seeds for your business is the time spent getting out into your “community”, but it’s a big waste of time if you have no idea who that community is in the first place. So, what is your strategy? Who uses your products or services directly vs. someone who may be able to refer you? Who is just going to constantly push their crap on you and never ever produce a good referral?

I also hear you asking…but what if someone MIGHT recommend me in the future? Shouldn’t I just know as many people as possible? Well, yes, if they even care about what you are providing in the first place. Why waste time crop dusting when you can spend a shorter amount of quality time connecting with people who actually care about your services and can effectively explain them to others?

The truth is, networking often feels overwhelming or aggravating because people fear talking about themselves, really shining their light. Add to that the fact they have no idea how to even talk about the value of what they are offering in terms of how it heals a pain point or fills a need – especially because they are trying to sell to EVERYONE. It’s hard to please everyone, so stop trying.

So if you are clear on what you offer, how you help and who you are – how are you actually maximizing your 1to1 connection time with potential clients? With less and less of it available to all of us, you better be making it count.

If you are one of those folks who need a little bit of a push when it comes to mingling strategy,  check out these general guidelines to help structure your efforts more effectively. If you are a small to medium size business, I would suggest the following mingling mix:

  • Regularly attend a mix of general and specialty groups in person
  • Select a handful of local groups (within 25 miles or so of your business)
  • Pick a few far reaching groups (within 75 to 100 miles)
  • Start your own group
  • Join a coworking facility
  • Send a representative to the networking meetings if you don’t have time
  • Move on from a group if after three 3 consistent visits, you’ve made no useful connections
  • Invest time in online communities that make sense for your target market, not just all over the place
  • Connect with like minds on social media to research additional possible groups

The important thing is that you are making an effort online and in person. Just be as clear as you can with yourself about what you want from your business for yourself as well as what you really offer others, and the right mingling approach will definitely become obvious.