There's nothing better than summer. The warm, sunny weather. Spending time outdoors. Going to the beach. Barbecues and other gatherings. But for the small business owner, this can have you worrying that you are neglecting your business. Don't worry, we've got some helpful networking tips that will let you stay and enjoy summer fun for just a bit longer!
This is a great time, especially to network because people are often simply more social. Summer is a fun season where we are outside more, connecting more with people and being more active. This alone means this season offers you plenty of opportunities to network during these months. Remember that most people also like to meet people when they are on vacation. You might be surprised to discover just how much networking you could get done during summertime.
Tip #1: Plan out your favorite summer activities if you canWe know that some things happen spontaneously, like getting invited to eat hamburgers grilled on the neighbors' patio. But other things like the neighborhood block party, you'll probably know about these in advance. Take out your calendar and start to fill them in. Plan out your summer activities and fun, putting in each thing you really want to go to.
Tip #2: The best networking is naturalIf you have done any networking, you'll know that the very best type happens when you are comfortable and in a natural setting. Now we are not encouraging you to show up at every T-ball game your child has with a huge stack of business cards! But you could consider sponsoring the team if you have a local business. Or if you have a local catering business, why not make healthy snacks for the kids a few times? There will also be plenty of times to chat with other parents as you watch the game and after or before the game.
Tip #3: Connect with people through similar activitiesThis is one of the best tips we can recommend to you. You may not meet your new business connections at the amusement park you take your family to this summer for your annual vacation. But going to and planning that vacation is a great conversation starter, an “ice breaker” that you can use while attending other networking events or even meeting with new clients. Many others have gone to amusement parks with their kids and may offer you travel tips or which rides are the best.
Tip #4: Share your summer fun on social mediaMost small businesses are on social media. If your company has softball games, why not share how your team is doing this year? Or post photos of the annual picnic? Or let employees share fun summer photos that relate to your business in some way. If you sell kids' clothing, it would be perfect to show kids dressed in their summer best, casual or dressy, having fun in the summertime.
Tip #5: Meet people by trying new activities this summerDon't neglect this summer fun tip. Not only will you have a great time doing this, but you'll very likely meet some new people and could make some good connections. Set the goal to try some new things this summer. It could be a new type of food, attend a festival, a music concert, an athletic event or visit a place you've never been to. It is fun to try things, and while sometimes it is challenging to try something new, it is good for you in many ways. Get out there and try something new and be sure to ask a lot of questions and have a conversation with the people you meet. You'll probably meet people as you visit that festival, new vacation spot or try a different restaurant.
Many people look forward to summer, for so many reasons. Enjoy summer and don't stop networking!
Lauren Hill writes for Galorath, a project management company offering software and support for your business.