The Un-Network

Posted on May 1, 2009 :: Networking
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Steve Dreger of Fox Valley Technical College and Miron Construction’s Theresa Lehman.

The Morning Business Advice series sponsored by the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry was designed as an educational format, not a networking event, but that doesn’t stop those attending from making valuable business connections.

In fact, says Gary Vaughan, founder of Appleton-based Guident Business Solutions and chair of the Fox Cities Chamber Small Business Committee, some of the most valuable networking goes on at non-networking events.

“This isn’t the kind of event where people get together and exchange business cards, but there’s an educational focus around a topic, so others attending are going to be like-minded,” says Vaughan, whose committee plans and organizes the Morning Business Advice events. “That means there is a good likelihood of making a business connection.”

Theresa Lehman, director of sustainable services at Miron Construction, couldn’t agree more. On a recent April morning, Lehman was the featured speaker at one of the events, talking about sustainability issues for small businesses. Afterwards, she spent a good half hour talking with those in attendance. She walked out with a fistfull of business cards.

“I have two new potential suppliers and a really interesting opportunity to do some joint projects as a result of this event,” she says.

Small business owners, in particular, need to take advantage of as many networking opportunities as possible, says Vaughan.

“Networking is not something that we as small business owners do naturally, so it’s something we have to work at,” he says. “I see a lot of that at these kinds of educational sessions. Afterwards, we’ll sit and listen to the buzz as people talk about the topic and their mutual interests in it. That’s where the rubber really meets the road – with people finding common ground around something.”

Benjamin Lasiewicz, research manager at the Fox Cities Chamber, says the Morning Business Advice series draws an average of 43 people per session for the 11 sessions the Chamber has hosted each year since 2001.

Autumn Hill of Autumn Hill Creative in Kimberly and a member of the committee that plans the Morning Business Advice series, says the events are targeted to provide information for small business owners, but that some of the best information comes after the educational portion is over.

Norbert West, director of maintenance for Appleton Health Care, says that’s the attraction.

“There’s an opportunity to do some networking, but it also gives you a chance to learn more about what other people are doing and form some business relationships,” says West. “It’s networking, but it’s also about identifying resources.”

Vaughan agrees.

“Once you understand something about someone else’s business, you can be a better networking partner with that person and business,” says Vaughan.

The Morning Business Advice series sponsored by the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry was designed as an educational format, not a networking event, but that doesn’t stop those attending from making valuable business connections.

In fact, says Gary Vaughan, founder of Appleton-based Guident Business Solutions and chair of the Fox Cities Chamber Small Business Committee, some of the most valuable networking goes on at non-networking events.

“This isn’t the kind of event where people get together and exchange business cards, but there’s an educational focus around a topic, so others attending are going to be like-minded,” says Vaughan, whose committee plans and organizes the Morning Business Advice events. “That means there is a good likelihood of making a business connection.”

Theresa Lehman, director of sustainable services at Miron Construction, couldn’t agree more. On a recent April morning, Lehman was the featured speaker at one of the events, talking about sustainability issues for small businesses. Afterwards, she spent a good half hour talking with those in attendance. She walked out with a fist full of business cards.

“I have two new potential suppliers and a really interesting opportunity to do some joint projects as a result of this event,” she says.

Small business owners, in particular, need to take advantage of as many networking opportunities as possible, says Vaughan.

“Networking is not something that we as small business owners do naturally, so it’s something we have to work at,” he says. “I see a lot of that at these kinds of educational sessions. Afterwards, we’ll sit and listen to the buzz as people talk about the topic and their mutual interests in it. That’s where the rubber really meets the road – with people finding common ground around something.”

Benjamin Lasiewicz, research manager at the Fox Cities Chamber, says the Morning Business Advice series draws an average of 43 people per session for the 11 sessions the Chamber has hosted each year since 2001.

Autumn Hill of Autumn Hill Creative in Kimberly and a member of the committee that plans the Morning Business Advice series, says the events are targeted to provide information for small business owners, but that some of the best information comes after the educational portion is over.

Norbert West, director of maintenance for Appleton Health Care, says that’s the attraction.

“There’s an opportunity to do some networking, but it also gives you a chance to learn more about what other people are doing and form some business relationships,” says West. “It’s networking, but it’s also about identifying resources.”

Vaughan agrees.

“Once you understand something about someone else’s business, you can be a better networking partner with that person and business,” says Vaughan.