Are You Networking? Well, You Should Be!

Are You Networking? Well, You Should Be!

by Steve Gamel

Jennifer Harvey didn’t know the first thing about networking when she moved to Texas four years ago, and if you get her talking, she might try to convince you she’s still not a pro at it. But you’d never be able to tell as she stands confidently in front of a packed room on another Thursday morning.

Once again, she’s happily doing introductions – for a networking group she helped launch.

“Sometimes I wonder, how did we do this?” Harvey said with a shy laugh. “It’s magic. It has to be.”

Harvey, a registered representative with New York Life, and fellow local business owners, Dave Reese and Diane Barton, started Lake Cities Coffee & Connections in late-September. They hold meetings at 8 a.m. every Thursday at Beatitudes Tea Room in Lake Dallas and have emerged as one of the more talked-about small-business networking groups in the area.

LCCC has an average of 24 to 27 participants each week and has its own Facebook page with 204 followers. The loyal attendees include everyone from insurance agents to artists, mortgage officers, SEO experts, roofers, chiropractors, and even a Mayor and city council member.

“It’s people who have a passion for what they do,” Harvey said. “And part of that is helping others grow.”

The growth of LCCC should come as no surprise to avid networkers across North Texas. There are countless groups in every nook and cranny of the Metroplex – many may have started yesterday, others have been around for years. The goal for each is simple: build relationships with one another on a grassroots level, grow your business, and be engaged in the growth of business in your community.

And there’s never been a better time to make new connections.

“I saw an article once that said, ‘networking is dead,’” and I thought to myself, well, you obviously haven’t put enough into the process,” Dave Reese said. “Networking is a big tool at your fingertips as a business owner, and you broaden your reach when you are in the right group with the right people.”

Reese has a Farmers Insurance office in Corinth and echoes the sentiments of many business owners who insist the benefits to being in at least one networking group each week are endless.

Those include:

  • The peace of mind that you are referring/promoting someone you know and trust
  • Making new friends and being invested in your community
  • Endless career opportunities
  • Learning and sharing best practices
  • Positive influence and increased confidence

“It’s foolish not to engage in some type of networking,” Harvey said “If you want seafood, you’re going to ask a friend where you should go. It’s the same for all of us. You want people talking about you, and networking is the cheapest form of advertising. It’s also the most effective.”

Barton agreed, saying that business owners across all industries take pride in building connections.

“I want everyone who walks in that door to feel like they belong here,” said Barton, a representative with Stream. “I knew of a gentleman who was coming as a visitor one time, and I looked up his picture on Facebook beforehand, so I knew what he looked like before he got there. I wanted him to feel like he belonged. I get more joy from promoting others than I do talking about my business.”

Harvey said that selfless attitude is a big reason why LCCC has caught lightning in a bottle when it comes to networking. She invites everyone to see for themselves.
“There’s a certain chemistry with this group,” Harvey said. “I don’t know how to describe it, but it works.”

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