Tammy M

OK, I admit it. I am guilty of the same sin that seems to affect many of the small business owners and even employees.

The holidays get closer, time seems to actually speed up, suddenly I am behind, the holidays are getting closer, I need to get ready for family, I need to get shopping done, I need to continue to grow my business but, but, I need to think about the people in that are most important to me and get my house and home ready for the two big days......HOLD IT!...wait a minute, it is only two big days and it is going to take two months of my time?

What happened? Why does it seem like I have neglected my business. The truth is...well I have somewhat. I admit it, I am guilty of letting myself get sidetracked too much. I probably spent too much time, I probably spent too much money, I probably sent my cards in the snail-mail too late and everyone is getting them after the holidays. I probably....................well, as they say, hindsite is 20/20. I probably could have done better.

Here is the point of this post.

Are you feeling the same way? Are you chastizing yourself a little for not being as efficient as you should have been over the holidays?

I have news for you...it's OK! Keep it in perspective, what is most important?

All of us have a limited time in this life and at the end of this life, there will not be business people recalling the wonderful time they had with you over the holidays. There will be family and friends, remembering how much they loved and enjoyed you during the holidays.

One the family holidays are over. Do you have a plan for tomorrow? Are you performing up to your own standards?

Set your goals, write them down (this is really important), and then don't just think about it, you must take action.

In fact you need to take purposeful action, otherwise you may find yourself faced with making a long and painful goodbye to your dreams.

I'll never forget a story I once heard....I would like to share it with you.

One day I was looking at the ads for yard sales and I found a sale that was being done by the Devil.
According to the ad, it seemed that the Devil decided to go out of business and he was selling off his possessions.
Out of curiosity, I decided to go and see what could possibly be for sale from the Devil.
When I arrived, I found a large tent and inside it were tables with various items displayed. Below each item was a label indicating what it was. As I wandered around looking at the items displayed I saw many items that looked new and hardly used such as fear, anger, and sadness. I then suddenly came across one item that did not have a label and was obviously used. It appeared rubbed, beaten, stained and chipped.

Right about this time, the Devil himself approached. He looked haggard and old and inquired if I found anything I wanted?

I quickly responded, that I had not but I asked if I could inquire as to the one item with no label that appeared to be used so much.

The Devil got a look on his face of reminiscence as he explained, "That one item is the most valuable item that I use. It always works and never fails. I did not label it because the price is great and only serious inquiries will be considered. You see that one item is, discouragement. Once discouragement begins it almost never retreats.

With that explanation he turned and walked away.

I quickly left also, a little wiser.
Tammy M
Network groups are one of the most successful ways to create word of mouth to market your business. A referral can create a chain reaction and start a windfall of opportunities.

You membership in a networking group can generate regular income but it requires that you contribute to the network groups you participate to ensure your return on investment. Especially if you calculate your time, gas and money on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis you want to ensure that your investment provides a return.

Your success will be realized when you have developed the relationships and created trust that the other group members begin to open up and give you their best referrals. Make sure that you are not creating an unprofessional image that cause you to not gain from your investments and waste your time.

Here are things to ensure you are wasting your time in a networking group:

  • When it is your turn to do your 30 second commercial or your presentation just wing it. Don’t keep up with the latest offering of your business. After all it still is the same old stuff.
  • Use one-on-one meetings to talk about your networking groups' issues instead of learning more about each other.
  • Focus your efforts primarily on selling your services to members of the group.
  • Make sure that you gossip or complain about other networkers and guests. The person you are speaking to wants to hear your complaints.
  • When you get a referral don’t feel that you need to contact the person right away. They know where to find you if they really need you.
  • During the 30 second commercials is a great time to check your text messages. You have heard everyone's commercial before. It just the same ol same ol and you’ll see them again next week.
  • Inviting guests is a lot of work and you can just depend on other people in the group to invite guests.
  • Make sure that you take the phone call or check you messages during the meeting. It doesn't bother anyone; and it shows that you put your customers first above all else and everyone admires that.

If someone is continually these sure fire time wasters, then how enthusiastic are you about giving them referrals. Your connections are valuable.

Business networking requires your commitment to each member and to the group. Make a decision that you will be a participant and support the network groups that you are involved with and the support your give will be reciprocated.

Again, it all comes down to relationships and nurturing your relationships with others. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time.

Tammy M

Finally, we can say the hot summer is over.

Here in Texas the heat of the summer is sometimes overwhelming. When Fall comes it is a welcome relief and we look forward to cooler days and nights.

We look forward to spending time with family and friends as the holidays begin to be revealed through our daily routines.

It's easy to just decide to not go out and work our business one day and just stay home, open the windows, let in the fresh autumn air.

It's so easy to loose focus, so easy slow down.

But now is the time that we need to focus more than ever. Create forward momentum and create excitement.

Many of us have heard, "set yourself on fire and the world will come to watch you burn". Sounds pretty disgusting and painful. Right now, is the upward climb toward creating momentum that will get you on the downhill side after the holidays.

I read something this week that said, "opportunity will show up at your door wearing work clothes".

Do you have a dream because that is your fuel.

Do you have a dream because that will keep you moving forward when the days get shorter and the nights get longer.

Keep your focus on your dream. Write your story of what your life will be like for one day when you have achieved your dream.

And if you don't have a dream. Then I suggest that you find one or pray for one.
As a child we all had dreams. Ask any child if they have a dream. Most of them do and can describe it to you if they are not too embarrased.
As adults we have allowed embarrassment and the real world to make our dream smaller and smaller. But if your dream has become so small then it is not longer a dream.
If you don't have a dream find it. Find out other peoples dreams. You may find your dream wrapped up in someone elses.

Having a dream will keep you young.
Moving toward the dream will keep you happy.
Achieving the dream will bring a new dream.
Everybody needs a dream.
Your dream is your fuel. Gas it up!
Tammy M
OK, we have all heard the term ...Networking.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of networking is as follows:
Function: noun
Date: 1967
1: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions, specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business
2: the establishment or use of a computer network

With the above definition I think that this topic is pertaining to number 1.

In the definition there are two key parts, the first is, "the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions".

The EXCHANGE, is the important action in this sentence. When you network it is important that you keep in mind this is an exchange. You give a little and you get a little. You give alot and you get more.

How much are you exchanging when you are networking?

Are you suggesting leads or key alliances for the other people that you get to know and trust?

Are you sharing your successes and what works for you?

When you or someone you know, needs a service or product, are you looking online, in the phone book, or in the business cards you have collected recently or in the not so recent past?

The question is what are you doing toward your EXCHANGE?

The second part of the definition is, "the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business."

Cultivation is the action word in this part of the definition.

How are you cultivating your relationships?

Are you targeting people to develop your specific relationship and are you just moving from person to person trying to be that special someone for everyone?

Think about the last statement. What do you think would be more productive to your business development?

Trying to fit the mold for everyone or choosing specific people that can be key players to build a "productive" relationship?

Networking is not, presenting your business to everyone and looking for NEXT.

Networking is not, going to a meeting and as soon as the meeting is done getting out the door to the next meeting or appointment. (that is timeclock mentality)

Networking is about relationships and building a team of people that feel comfortable with sharing what you offer.

Networking is finding out what someone else needs and then being able to suggest a solution to the need and....guess what.... it may not be your product or service but it may be someone you know in .....your network.

Networking is about helping other people. Cultivating the relationships so that you want to help the other people and at the same time you will....let me repeat this...you will be helping yourself.
Look in the mirror tomorrow and ask yourself, "am I cultivating relationships to build my network for exchanging information, goods, and services?"

Till next time...
Tammy M
In my last one on one post I covered Rule #1 Getting to know the person and finding out if you trust them.

In this post I will discuss proper sharing of business. So just to refresh you the three important elements of you one on one are:

#1) Getting to know the person you talk to and begin developing a relationship

#2) Sharing of business to provide a competent referral and to get a good referral

#3) You want to know the approximately 250 people they know that you don't.

As I stated in my original post on the one-on-one meeting, it is important that each party understand each others business.

This understanding is not just the mechanical understanding, it is understanding how this person treats the people they obtain via a referral.

Do they treat their customers or prospects with the respect and service that you treat your customers. After all if you give a referral to this person you are letting them borrow your credibility.

If they treat your referral badly that will reflect badly on you and the customer will be hesitant to do business with you again if you are sending disrespectful people to them.

Obviously this is an additional step in establishing the character of the person you are talking to.

Additionally, if you do not understand their business it is difficult to refer anyone to them and the reverse is also true. In learning about someones business you have a chance to determine their passion for what they are doing. After all would you refer someone and then find out a year later they are no longer doing the same thing and now your referral is out in the cold? Obviously judgment must play a part in this. If someone is not making the necessary revenue then continuing to do the same thing with the same results is called insanity. So I tend to be less judgmental on this point.

OK, so now you have listened to this person and learned about their business. They need to reciprocate and listen about your business. This is very important also because if someone does not give you the opportunity to find out about your business then there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself.

Was this person actually intending to provide me with quality referrals if they do not know about my business?

Is there already enough of a relationship established that they would give me a quality referral and feel confident I would treat the referral with the utmost respect and service and therefore, understanding the mechanics of my business is not as important as my character?

You could ask the person if they feel comfortable with giving you a referral? Of coarse most people will say, "yes". I would suggest that immediately after this question you ask, "Is there anything about my business or how I treat my customers and/or associates, that I can answer for you?"

This second question will usually prompt them to ask if there are any doubts.

Just remember your relationships you are building are important. They are however business relationships and each person is responsible in the process for developing and moving the relationship in a positive direction.

As always I welcome your comments about this post so feel free to share your thoughts on this subject.

Till next time.
Tammy M
Yesterday, I attended a short presentation on Social Networking. The information was great and I am excited to share what I learned with you.

When I consider social networking, I compare it to the ATM machine. When ATM machines first came out there were alot of people that felt uncomfortable about using the ATM machine. They did not want to use a machine because they did not trust the machine to count the money properly and were worried about getting short changed. They also felt that it was a privacy concern. Then there were those that just felt the machine was too complicated to learn and just wanted to stay with what they knew and trusted, the teller at the bank.

I can take each one of those issues and tie them to online social networking. With social networking people felt that if they hire someone to help them manage their social networking that they will be short changed because of money spent and no results. Then there are those that are concerned about getting involved in the social media world because in order to participate they would have to become too personal and be sharing with others things they would rather just keep to themselves. Finally, there are those who just don't understand the social networking commerce and feel that it is too complicated and time consuming to participate. Sound familiar?

Lets say someone refuses to use the ATM, they can still access their money and make withdraws and deposits. It will take a little more time and effort such as driving to the bank and doing business, during the banks business hours.

The same is with social networking, you can still grow a business. It will however take more time and effort.

Starting and blending all the elements of social networking together is the leap we all must make if we want to grow a strong business that will fit into the new Information Age. In order to participate and prosper we must make a decision to learn it and do it.

What I learned yesterday is "at this time eight elements" to the social networking strategy.

#1 Facebook
#2 LinkedIn
#3 Twitter
#4 Articles
#5 Ezine or ENewsletter
#6 Video media such as Youtube
#7 Blog and it was suggested it be a domain you own. (If you don't know what a domain is just ask me I can help you)
#8 SEO or Search Engine Optimization

These eight elements can be worked together to create your social presence on the world wide web. My prediction is in the future there will be tools and programs developed to manage these elements from a single source. For now you have to do each independently and it is time consuming.

Speaking of time, what if we were to breakdown traditional network marketing time consumption and social networking time consumption.

With traditional networking you have to drive, attend meetings, have 1 on 1's. There is alot of time devoted to planting one seed. With Social networking you have to write, and write and write and there is alot of time devoted but you are planting many seeds.

Between the two they do take alot of time but the market penetration with social networking is far more effective than with traditional networking.

Social networking is about using all the necessary elements and bringing each of these together to create your presence on the world wide web.

If you want to start a campaign then the first thing you must do is find a niche. Determine a niche that you can have plenty of material to write on and you must be a teacher. Make yourself the expert of your niche.

Also find places to answer questions and then drive traffic to your blog or to your articles. Alot of people know I write articles and alot of my articles are about all kinds of elements that may or may not have anything to do with networking or electricity. In fact not long ago I wrote an article about Making Hard Candy. If you want to check it out here is the link: Making Old Time Hard Candy.

My goal is to build on my name and for me most of my topics are about networking, electricity, technical issues, and other stuff. You may want to stay more to your profession and or niche when writing articles and if your goal is to drive traffic to your web site then the Helium site I used is not for traffic. I mostly use it just to publish articles and get my name known.

To drive traffic you want to article websites such as ezinearticles.com, ask yahoo, even LinkedIn can be used for driving traffic to your blog.

At this point this post is beginning to get into how to drive traffic and that needs to be in a future post.

Till then.
See ya
Tammy M
Something I have noticed over the summer is the influx of new business owners?

When talking to these new business owners most of them are volunteering that they recently became unemployed.

We all know have a fairly good idea about what is going on in the job market. As small business owners we control the market by shear numbers and hold the keys to moving the economy and our business forward. The question is can we use the current economy to help not only our business but the people that have had their lives changed in the past few months.

Employers in the U.S. cut 467,000 jobs in June and unemployment rate rose from 9.4% to 9.5%, the highest since August 1983. The payroll decline surpassed its forecast and followed a 322,000 drop in May, according to Labor Department figures released recently in Washington.

Payrolls were forecast to drop 365,000 after the 345,000 decrease initially reported for May, according to the median of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News last month. Estimates ranged from declines of 150,000 to 500,000. Job losses peaked at 741,000 in January. The jobless rate was projected to climb from 9.4% to 9.6%. And, by the end of the year,
unemployment is predicted to reach 10%, according to the survey.

With all this doom and gloom there is gain to be had by all. I recently attended a network meeting (this was a very new group), of the 8 people that attended 4 of them had either their spouse laid off or themselves laid off in the past 3 months. These individuals made a decision that they were not going to be idle and wait for a job. They were going to create a job.

These are the people we want to align ourselves with no matter what kind of business you own. We want to help these people become profitable because not only are we helping another human being, we are putting money in their pocket that they will spend or invest in each others business.

And it doen't stop there. They know people they worked with and they likely talk to them. If someone has a great experience in the private sector, they share it. They will talk about you.

The point is, this is all about attitude and making lemons into lemonaide. Helping each in the marketplace is all part of the business network mentality.

The current economy is creating an amazing opportunity for all. Look for ways you can spend time, spend a little money, invest in each other, and reap rewards for possibly years to come.
Tammy M
In my post How to Conduct A One-On-One When Business Networking, I provided three points to keep in mind when conducting a one-on-one. The three points were:

#1 Do you feel the person you are speaking to has integrity and character? Do you trust them?
#2 Make a point that each party learns about the others business.
#3 Keep in mind that you are not selling to the person sitting across the table. You are however selling to every person they know and you are starting a relationship and creating a camaraderie building “sales ambassadors” for your business.

The purpose of this post is to get you thinking about #1 and your definition of trust and how you can measure trust.

Many of us run on our feelings when measuring trust of one another. Feelings are great but sometimes our feelings are not enough so hopefully this post will help you to create your personal definition of trust.

In this case the definition of Trust is: the trait of believing in the honesty and reliability of others.
I personally define trust as the trait of believing in the integrity and character of others.

Lets start with the definition of each word.

Honesty: fairness and straightforwardness of conduct b : adherence to the facts : SINCERITY
synonyms HONESTY, HONOR, INTEGRITY, PROBITY mean uprightness of character or action. HONESTY implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way. HONOR suggests an active or anxious regard for the standards of one's profession, calling, or position. INTEGRITY implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. PROBITY implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.

Reliability: 1 : the quality or state of being reliable. suitable or fit to be relied on : DEPENDABLE 2 : the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials

Integrity: 1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY. 2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS. synonyms see HONESTY

Character: moral excellence and firmness

With these definitions we can start to form our personal definition of trust.

About a year ago I attended a weekend training and participated in an exercise where there were 7 people in a group, myself included and you had one minute to tell about yourself and create trust on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 being the least trust and 5 being the greatest trust. The exercise was interesting and eye opening.

One point of interest was, women seemed to gain trust easier than men. Another interesting tidbit was more trust was gained in the one minute when the person shared a personal story than when people gave reasons to trust them.

If you think about these two points it makes sense. Women are traditional caregivers and trust becomes a natural occurrence. Additionally, when we hear a personal story from someone, we relate, we measure and conclude this person has felt the exhilaration of doing the right thing or the regret of it, and therefore have learned the moral lesson. This builds on our trust faster than just providing reasons to trust.

Like I said before, my personal definition of trust is a combination of integrity (honesty) and character (moral excellence). I believe most people give general trust easily but if ever violated trust will be gone and regaining it may never be achievable or will be difficult to gain back.

I once attended a seminar and during the seminar the topic of trust was discussed by the speaker and his definition incorporated integrity and character. He explained his belief by means of a story that I have never forgot. To this day I use this story to aide in my personal measure of trust for the person I am speaking. I would like to share this story with you.

Little Johnny came home from school and shared with his mother an experience from his day.

Johnny said, “Mommy, while at school today there was a new girl that came to our class. A lot of the kids made fun of her because she was fat but I didn’t make fun of her.”

Johnny’s Mommy said, “That’s very good by not making fun of her you showed integrity. But Johnny did tell the other kids not to make fun of her. That would have shown your character.”

This small story was a great example of doing the “right thing”, (integrity) and character (having moral excellence). Do you do the “right thing” even though other people are not and do you stand by your moral beliefs?

My little definition does not take into account reliability but I have found that reliability cannot be determined in a one hour meeting. I have found that someone can be reliable and not have integrity and character. So reliability to me is secondary to integrity and character.

Now you have an idea of my personal definition of trust. Have you begun to define yours? Can you have a one hour conversation with someone and define on a scale from 1 to 5 your level of trust?

No matter what your business, the goal is to develop relationships with the people you encounter each and every day and build trust. Because people do business with those they know, like, and trust.

Do the people you encounter everyday know, like, and trust you? Most business owners think that 80% or more trust them when in fact the number is usually closer to 50% or less. So how can you establish trust with the people around you?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:
• Be consistent in your actions and with how you treat other people. Use the golden rule, treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
• When having your one-on-one provide stories about your experiences to help the other person feel you share like experiences that demonstrate your integrity and character.
• When you promise a one-on-one know that you will only be able to reschedule it once or twice. More than that you will be compromising your reliability and therefore compromising the level of trust other people have in you.

I personally have had people who would promise a one-on-one with me and then cancel it several times. When this happens more than twice I stop trying to have a one-on-one with them and I throw away their business card because I feel the message they are telling me is I do not matter to them. I will never give them a referral because of the way they treated me. We have all had similar experiences so make sure you are consistent with each person you deal with and treat them as well as you would want to be treated.

I hope this has given you food for thought. There are so many people we deal with everyday and making decisions on who and when you are willing to provide a referral and basically allow someone to borrow your name and reputation is important.

Next time I hope to provide you with something to think about with #2 Make a point that each party learns about the others business.
Tammy M
This post is another of many that is designed to help the new business networker to understand the dynamics and marketing strategy of a one-on-one.

Attending Business Network groups is a great first step to developing an never ending list of names for building any kind of business. Whether your business resides in a brick and mortar building, a network marketing business, direct sales, or a mlm, business network groups will allow you to develop your business in a way you never thought possible.

Of coarse there are still other means in addition to business network groups such as the new social networking movement that has taken the internet by storm but that subject will be reserved for another post. For simplicity this post is not going to engage social network. Look for future posts that will bring business networking groups and social media all together.

When you attend a business network group meeting, a term you will hear frequently used is one-on-one. A one-on-one is when two business owners from different businesses agree to sit down and share information about each other and begin to develop a relationship.

If you were to inquire around to different people and ask, "what is a one-one-one?", you will likely get many different definitions but there will be a consistent theme to each answer which is, "two business owners sit down and share information about each other".

When I started in networking, I found this answer to be so vague that I really did not have an answer and with my personality it just did not work. Because I could not find an answer there were many times that I would sit down to a one-on-one and ask the person sitting across from me, "what do you expect the results of this one-on-one to be". The great thing with this question is it laid the groundwork of our meeting up front and each of us had a chance to voice our expectation.

Over time I have come up with what I think is a good definition. I do encourage my readers to please provide your opinion since this topic does seem to be very individualized.

When I have a one-on-one with a person there are a few things that I keep in mind.

#1) I want to get to know this person and determine if I feel they are a person if integrity and character. This is a primary concern when having a one-on-one. If you feel the person you are facing is not a person of integrity then I suggest that you just have a nice conversation and then go your separate ways.
If a mutal feeling of trust appears to be plausible then your goal is to develop the relationship to a point where you would feel comfortable referring your mother to the person you are having your one-on-one with.

#2) The conversation must consist of each party sharing their product or service. It is absolutely vital that they understand your business and that you understand their business. In fact, it is my opinion that if an individual does not share their business then they are either, a) treating their business as a hobby or b) they do not feel you are of value to their business development. And just to be fair that are alot of people out there that do not have self worth to share their business, which is another way of saying they do not believe enough in their business that it will work for them. If this sharing of business does not occur then each party should agree to have another informal one-on-one in order to provide quality referrals.

#3) You want to know the approximate 250 people they know that you do not know. If you have conducted yourself properly through #1 and #2 then #3 has greater chances of occuring. Getting referrals is your goal. We have all heard about the guy that noticed the number of people that attended weddings and funerals and the number is around 200 to 250 people. Most of those people consist of family and close friends when attending weddings and funerals. Creating the relationship of trust and providing the necessary information for the other person to be able to convey your business is important since this creates your sales ambassadors.

The three points above are your focus during a one-on-one. Our next "How to" post will cover how to maximize this strategy and create business growth.
Tammy M
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Tammy M

When you search for network groups in the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex, you will find there are many different flavors of groups with different rules. However, all of the network groups have a common reason for existing and that is to grow businesses and make money by offering products and services that people need.

The organizer of a business network group will be a business owner and people that attend the group also be business owners. The bottom line for every person attending is to develop their business is by giving out referrals and building the relationships to grow a stable and profitable business. The relationships developed in network groups will ultimately become the foundation for growth.

Building a solid foundation is primary and the methods to develop a foundation come from Zig Ziglar who said, "You can have everything in life you want, if you just help other people get what they want." By being the person that people can depend on, and trust.
Finding a group that you feel comfortable in, will usually require more than one visit. The only reason you may not return after one visit, is if you found the group is business exclusive and there is already a member of the group that represents your type of  business.

Before I go any further I probably need to explain "business exclusive".

Business exclusive in network groups means that, only one business may be a member in a given trade. This can best be explained by example.
Take for example, a network group is exclusive.  The group has a real estate agent as a member. In this case the position of "Real Estate Agent" is taken and therefore other real estate agents are not allowed to attend the meeting. The trade/position is occupied by a member of the network group who has earned or paid for the exclusive spot.

When you find a network group and you are interested in joining, you want to ask the usual questions; who, what, where, when, and cost, but these are secondary questions, the first question will be "is the group exclusive"? You want to know if a group is exclusive so that you can evaluate if you have a chance to attend the group and establish membership. Be courteous, conduct yourself professionally and try not step on other peoples toes.
There are different types of exclusivity. Some network groups allow for two businesses per category. In one of my groups, we allow two businesses per category but they have to be from different companies.
Some business network groups have no exclusivity, and then some groups allow the first member that represents that type of business to choose if they want exclusivity, and then some you pay your way to get exclusivity.
Knowing how the group is organized will make it easier to find meetings where you can develop your niche.
If the person you are talking to, cannot provide enough information about the network group, then ask if there is a web site or a person that can be contacted for additional information.

There you have a little bit about business network group.
As always feel free to add your voice.

Tammy M
Today I attended a meeting in Roanoke, Texas, called Heartlink Network.

Andrea Pender of Andrea Pender Photography host this women only network meeting.
All Heartlink Network meetings allow for each attendee to do a 3 minute commercial.
Meeting cost is $20 and includes lunch.
Meeting time is 11:30am till 1pm and occurs once a month on the 2nd Thursday each month.

Heartlink meetings are business exclusive on a first pay, first reserve basis and it is up to the host to keep a list of attendees and reserve exclusivity.

Contact Andrea at 817-691-5770 to reserve your spot.

Andrea runs a great meeting and her house is an open floor plan making it comfortable and able to accommodate a pretty large group. She has an area in her office where you can display your products if you choose to do so. I do encourage you to ask about product display at the time you setup your reservation.

Andrea takes the time to go the extra step and ask local area businesses to contribute a door prize to be given away to some lucky winner attending the meeting. She also takes the time to make sure everyone attending feels welcome and has a well organized folder containing a list of attendees with their contact information.

The really nice thing about this meeting is it is once a month and you have a 3 minute commercial time to share your business, which can lead to questions, which can lead to leads.

I asked Andrea to send me a little blurb that shares some of the fun and interesting things about her meeting and when I get that I'll post it.

At each meeting I attend I try to see if there is someone that stands out above the crowd and at this meeting I have to say it was Karla Hess with Mary Kay and she did not talk about her business but instead talked about her mission to recognize with a Christmas gift the wives of deployed soldiers out of the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. She will be sending me information on that and I'll post it when I get it.
Tammy M
Attending your first network meeting can be intimidating and possibly embarrassing if you are not prepared. This post is to help you understand the process of a network meeting.

Most network meeting have a common agenda and in this post I have outlined an agenda flow.

When you arrive ensure to have business cards with you and set your cell phone to tazer, vibrate, or off to avoid possible embarrassment and as a courtesy. When you enter the meeting room I usually scan the room to see who I do or do not know and then locate where you plan to sit. If you are expecting an important phone call be sure to sit near an exit so if your phone should vibrate you can step out and handle your call without disturbing everyone else. If time allows visit around the room and greet other people.

To start the meeting someone will make an annoucement that the meeting is ready to begin and you need to politely conclude with whoever you are speaking and take your seat.

There is usually a master of ceremonies (mc) whose job it is to move the meeting along and explain about network group such as its purpose and how it may have started. This is where you want to pay attention to learn about membership requirements since it will vary from group to group.

Most network meetings have a dedicated time of usually 30 seconds for every attendee to deliver their commercial. Each person in the room will take a turn and deliver a commercial about their products and/or services. The MC will state how much time each person will have which can range anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. As a business owner you need to make sure you have a prepared 30 second commercial.

Next, most meetings will have a spotlight speaker. This spotlight speaker can be another business owners in the networking group that have attained membership status or it may be a special outside speaker that has been asked to come to the meeting and share their knowledge with the group. This spotlight can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how the meeting has been organized.

Then comes the thank you segment. This is a time where every attendee has a chance to acknowledge the efforts of other business owners for things such as referrals, business completed, or one on one meetings. This part may or may not be combined with any announcements that the attendees would like to share with the group. If announcements are not combined and you want to make an announcement it is best to ask permission prior since announcments can become lengthy.

And finally, the meeting is adjourned.

The description provided is only a common agenda and can vary from group to group. Some groups do not do any thank you segment. I know one group that has no commercial or thank you and the group I am thinking about is more focused on education which is why.

The time frame for a networking meeting may range anywhere from 1 hour to as much as 2 hours. I have never seen a meeting that lasted less than 1 hour unless it was a small group and they completed the agenda in less than 1 hour.
Tammy M
Wow, I can hardly believe that I obtained such a great name "Networking Ink". This is all about business networking by working together with each other and building all of our businesses.

Just a little about me and why I am doing this....I originally started in the corporate world with my career which I think most people started the same way. I was very successful and gave my loyalty without question to many but not all.

The first company who got my loyalty won it because of my boss and teacher. This person changed my life and took me from the office worker to a programming professional. 4 years into working for this company the parent company moved in and took over. They let go of the CEO, CIO (my boss), and all the Vice-Presidents. I was ok for about 10 months and then I was layed off. I felt the sting of this for quite a few years.

Down the career road, I had other jobs, other bosses, other layoffs.

Then I found this other company and this one was a giant but it felt like a small family company. I didn't sell my loyalty right away but it only took about 8 months and I knew this was the place I wanted to be. I worked there for 10 years and sold my soul. Then one day we started hearing the words budget...and reorganized...and RIF. The company found they could save "alot" of money if they outsourced to another country.

I went through something called, forced attrition, and it was then that I realized the pain had to stop. I experienced the entire emotional process and finally ended up vowing "I will never be dependent solely on a job again" and I realized that I would never be able to give my loyalty like I had in the past.

So, after being layed off, turned off, outsourced, railroaded, fired, restructured, reorganized, and a victim of forced attrition. I realized that the only way to stop the pain was to have my own business.

Much to my surprise, I found that while I was serving the corporate master there were people building businesses by means of network groups or also called a leads group.

I have to tell you, there are business network groups all over the place. In fact, this is so huge that entire companies have spawned catering to business networking. Sites such as meetup.com and konnect.com have become the "place" to find business meetings to attend.

I want to make sure you understand, when I refer to a network group, I am talking about mom and pop businesses, meeting with other businesses, and giving referrals, doing business with, teaming together, and helping each other to grow.

Business networking has morphed into a part of todays method of building a business and my goal to start is to help you to understand how it works.

The way I started was I joined my local chamber of commerce. I attended a networking group sponsored by the chamber and I was promptly invited to another group that was not associated with the chamber and it has grown from there. Network groups become fantastic connections for learning and growing your business.

Now before you go off half cocked and start blowing everyone away that gets within 3 feet. You need to know that these days growing your business is not done but means of something I call "advertising entrapment". You cannot grow you business by telling every warm blooded creature that can fog a mirror what you offer, it doesn't work that way anymore.

You grow your business by expanding your area of influence and building relationships. Businesses grow by growing with the people around you and getting involved, being a friend, and stop living in the cocoon that we create.

There are really great people out there that can can help you and you can help them and even though this mindset seems difficult for you to grasp today. As you get to know and grow with the people you meet you will begin to want other peoples successes as much as your own.

If you don't believe me and you are growing a business then I suggest you stick around. This is a journey and you are invited to come along for the ride as we build our businesses.

The next time we meet I'll share with you what a typical network meeting is like and what to expect from those around you and what is expected from you!

I'll also provide my first feature network group in the DFW area.