Posts Tagged ‘North Shore Entrepreneurial Network’

In the past, networking used to be “let’s do lunch” or “let’s play golf” or simply getting together for drinks after work. Oh how times have changed. There are so many networking groups. . .so many choices. . .so little time!

Last week I looked at the “cost” of networking for my own company. When I say cost I mean the actual dollars that I spend on networking. Next I looked at time: the amount of time that I spend networking. For a small business owner that equates to a pretty hefty investment as it relates to all of the things we have on our “to-do” lists. Finally I looked at how much of my networking dollars and time spent I can attribute to this year’s sales.

Ask some people and they might advise that you eliminate all of your advertising, marketing and public relations and have you simply network. Effective networking can create great referrals, right? Introductions to others pay dividends because the hope is for a reciprocal introduction, right? You introduce someone, they’ll introduce you, right? Business starts rolling in the very minute after you finish giving your 30 second intro, right?

In my next post I will discuss my own conclusions on whether or not networking has paid off for me and for my company.

For now I pose this question to you: what are your networking findings for you and your business? Has networking and the investment of time and money been financially rewarding?

As always I thank you for spending time reading the blog. If you enjoy these posts thank you for subscribing and sharing.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area celebrating it’s 3 year anniversary this December.

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The Wednesday Question: “Is finding and providing healthcare for you and your employees killing your business? Or have you found a healthy solution to answer this ever increasing challenge? In a variety of recent conversations the healthcare question keeps rising to the top as it relates to the small business owner and entrepreneur. What is the best way to find a healthy cost effective option for you, your family and employees? The rising costs of health insurance and sweeping changes in reform are challenging to decipher to say the least. After all healthy employees are critical to making sure your business operates at optimal level.

More details. . .

I started thinking more about this when I recently asked Elliot Richardson of the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) to speak at my networking group’s, North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN), meeting this coming May. A recent SBAC Newsletter discusses how “The SBAC has been working with Arthur J. Gallagher on a health insurance initiative that would stabilize the costs of health insurance for our members. Through the power of critical mass, the SBAC will attempt to form a health insurance pool to further this goal.”

For the typical business owner healthcare is only one of the challenges we all face. Perhaps you have already found the answer for this one. So the question restated is, “how are you addressing the increasing challenges of providing healthcare benefits to you and your employees?”

Looking forward to hearing your comments. . .

Have a suggestion for a future question? Email me at EHultman@UberBlueDM.com

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals and businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend.

Which services make the most sense for your business to outsource? Or are you uncomfortable releasing control to experts outside of the company? Many small business owners go into business because of a passion they have for what they do. Being good at something doesn’t always translate to being a great entrepreneur or business owner. I recommend reading, “The E Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber, @emyth. Michael does a fantastic job speaking to the entrepreneurs (present and future) as he helps to dispel the myths of the reality vs. fantasy of owning your own your own business.

More Details. . .

Many of us go into business as specialists in our fields. But let’s face it we aren’t all experts at everything nor are we gifted with all of the skills required for owning a business. Some of us have decent math skills but we don’t know everything about the accounting as it relates our business. Some of us have computer skills but that doesn’t mean we can diagnose and solve the technical problems when they arise. Yet these are skills required to run many of our businesses. Some small business owners have to stop being penny wise and pound foolish. So I ask the question once again in a slightly different way, “Would it make sense for you to outsource tasks if it saves you time and money? Would outsourcing free you up so you can handle the important work?” Clearly the answer will be different for all of us.

Time for your answers. . .

Have a suggestion for a future question? Email me at EHultman@UberBlueDM.com

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend.

Today and on future Wednesday’s I will be asking you, as business owners, questions that are designed to encourage conversation. The idea is to share with each other helpful suggestions and possibly answers to the things we all face with our businesses. First, the question, and then I will provide details about why I am asking.

As a small business owner what happens to your business if something happens to you?

More details. . .

A little over two years ago I started a group on LinkedIn called the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN). The original purpose of the group was to get a small group of my friends out to network, drink coffee and help each other with our respective businesses. Today we have 479 members. We meet once a month on the second Tuesday, network and have three speakers that present in a speed format.

A reoccurring discussion amongst our members is “what happens to my business if something happens to me?” Many of us are small business owners with very few employees (or we operate independently). If something would happen that takes us away from the office for an extended period of time (vacation, health problems, etc.) who would be the person able to assume the responsibility of running the company? Would one of our employees be able to handle the business in our absence? Could a friend or business colleague take over? Would my spouse know what my business does, how it operates, how to contact clients, how to handle everything related to my business?

We often avoid the question because we don’t want to consider the fact that we actually might not be immortal or superhuman. So I will ask the question again, this time in a slightly different way. . .What have you done to safeguard your business if you can’t be the person running it?

Time for your answers. . .Share your wisdom here and we will all be better prepared for our future!

Have a suggestion for a future question? Email me at EHultman@UberBlueDM.com

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your Social Media program or solution it’s time for a change! Give us a call! But don’t just make a change for the sake of change. Understand why it makes sense first. Questions? Send me a note at ehultman@uberbluedm.com or call me at (847) 498-5494. Thank you for referring us to a friend.

So by now you might have figured out that clearly, I am a huge fan of social media and all of the tools, technology and buzz that go along with it. Connecting with people you find interesting, bringing value to others, learning new things, being entertained and creatively expressing yourself are all reasons to utilize social media. Social Media also affords you a golden opportunity to generate revenue for your business!

However, what many people are missing about social media is that it should go well beyond the screens of your computer, television and mobile devices. Consider the technology as a starting point for being social. You, your business, friends, relatives and colleagues are connecting online. It is now time to move outside of the electronic boxes. How do I do this, you ask? How am I going to be more social Erik?

Here are three ways to be more social in person while using technology to enhance the experience.


Networking

So let’s take LinkedIn and Facebook to the next social level. Great to have a lot of contacts but why did you connect? Don’t just connect to show the numbers. I know plenty of people that only strive for the number of connections they have. This is not a good reason to connect. I will use a LinkedIn example for how to be more social. Join a group or start a group. Once you are part of that group (if they have a local chapter) plan an event. I have a group on LinkedIn called the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN). We meet twice a month. The morning meeting allows people to network, connect, share leads and listen to great speakers. The evening event meets at different, fun or interesting location. Do your best to be creative, promote it and get out to really connect with your connections.

TweetUps

If you are using Twitter, then you have the ability to participate in or organize a Tweetup. Simply stated, a Tweetup is when people who tweet, meet up at a location. The location can be anywhere. The tweets usually start long before the event, but not always. While there may be a spur of the moment Tweetup, a well-planned Tweetup can lead to a much more successful event. Make it interesting, informative and add compelling speakers, along with (of course) a hip place to meet.

The event usually has a theme or topic. While everyone attends the event they tweet about it to their followers. Connecting a real person to his/her picture and tweets is fantastic. I also like the Tweets that go with the event as you never know what you might learn or who you might meet. Another favorite of mine are the Tweetups that may benefit a charity or fundraiser-what a great way to build awareness for a cause!

GeoLocation

Perhaps you are using Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook mobile http://www.facebook.com/places/. While you are out and about town you can let people know where to meet up with you by checking in. You can also get some sweet deals at the same time. If you are a business let your fans and customers know about what tools you are using for geolocation. Invite people to plan events at your location. When they attend let them know they can also get a deal.

Keep geolocation in mind when planning an event. Let people who are attending the event know that checking-in while attending will not only let others know where they can meet up but that they might get a deal for being there. Maybe your business would benefit from a few hundred people showing up at your location for an event?

I ask. . .

So how are you taking your social out of the box, to the streets, being creative and getting face time with your friends, relatives colleagues and connections?

Wanted. . .

ÜberBlueDM is looking for individuals, groups, companies that have created or are getting ready to launch new tools for social media. Stuff that we like to call ÜberBlueÜbercool! Have you started a new community, developed a cutting edge app, gadget or new technology? Let us know what you have and we may feature it on our blog, website, fan page, tweet and all the interesting places we can share with others. If it’s NEW (or almost new) we would love to hear from you! Send us a note at info@UberBluedm.com or call us at (847) 498-5494. Please share this blog. . .Thanks!

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in educating, empowering, strategizing, implementing, managing, reporting and Social Media Staffing and Temps for businesses to build their social media success.