Face To Face Networking: The Words Many Small Business Owners Fear

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As a professional small business owner, there are probably a number of reasons why you chose to concentrate your business marketing upon online networking and communications rather than going out and promoting your business in your local area.

By adding a blog to your small business, it enables you to harness the power of a global communications platform at a low cost, without leaving the comfort of your home or office to promote your products and services.

Apprehensive small business owner…

For the shy and retiring business owners among us, blogging fits a number of needs easily.

It stops us having to go out in to the big wide world and network, it prevents us from having to pay a fortune on paper-based advertising, and once we are up and running it enables us to engage with a worldwide audience and develop superb contacts (and even friends) through the platform.

With all this going for it, is there any need for the small business owner to ever don their suit again and get out there for some face to face networking?

Well, yes.

Although the initial stages of setting up an online business can all be undertaken in a darkened room, working in the small hours with a dog at your feet and twilight approaching, as we grow and develop as business owners we can’t ignore the benefits of face to face marketing and networking.

Small business owners meet at last…

Despite the growth in trust and use of the internet, an online environment can never replace the benefits of meeting someone in the flesh, and giving someone the opportunity to do the same with you.

Our blogs provide a wealth of access in to our inner thinking, mindset, principles and way of working. Through our blog writing, we are able to convey a number of facets of our personality including our sense of humour, morals, ethics and business practices.

The increased use of videoconferencing and teleconferencing enable us to share our faces and voices with people all over the world, and yet still the picture is not complete until someone meets us face to face.

Taking a tip from online dating

When we sign up to an internet site for an online dating experience, we normally follow a set pattern.

We put up a photograph which hopefully portrays us in the best possible light.

We then write up all the best elements about ourselves, in the hope that it makes us come across as sensitive, good-natured and ultimately attractive.

We may engage the support of friends or family in order to gain an unbiased perspective of our positive attributes to put on the site, in the hope that they will help us overcome our natural reticence and put across a great impression.

If all goes according to plan, the next stage is to find someone whom we are attracted to, and who likes us from our profile.

We may send them a nudge or respond to a tentative e-mail, and then the real communication starts. We begin with e-mail conversations, and then instant messaging for a few weeks, and then if all goes well from that stage we may engage in a few phone calls over a glass of wine for courage.

After the phone calls?

We progress to arranging a face-to-face meeting. Up until this point, things were quite straightforward. We didn’t need to worry what to wear, and the only thing to get nervous about was possibly missing a phone call.


And yet, with the prospect of a real date looming, we become full of trepidation.

We think about it all the time. We may get our hair done, buy a new outfit, and spend anguished hours over choosing the right destination for that first liaison.

The problem is, no matter how much preliminary work we put in to getting to know a potential partner before meeting face to face, the truth is none of it seems to count for anything until we actually sit down opposite our prospective partner and vet them.

Do we find them attractive?

Do they make us laugh face to face?

Are we compatible?

Do they smell right?

Look right?

Walk right?

Do they have decent table manners and a passable dress sense?

Are they well groomed?

All of these things count between two human beings looking to forge a new relationship. We can spend hours with someone in the virtual world, only to pitch up on a first date and find that the person repels everything within us when we meet them in the flesh.

And this is why face-to-face networking is so important

Why meeting people in the flesh can make your business work

Just like with online dating, we are unable to develop true, lasting and trusting relationships with people online, unless we can meet them in the flesh and know whether we will click with them or not.

This is why, despite the effectiveness of blogging and the net, people still attend business networking schemes and meet with people, getting up at ungodly hours of the morning to drag ourselves to breakfast meetings, donning a suit and making ourselves presentable.

Face to face networking leaves people with a lasting impression of who we are, enabling them to (hopefully) take an instant like to us and decide that they want to work with us.

We can engage in conversation instantly, and our non-verbal signals and our overall demeanor lend weight to the power of face-to-face networking by adding to the overall impression which we present to people.

When we hand over a business card in person, we are inviting people to take us up on our offer to provide them with services and share in our business.

When they shake our hand, potential customers are much more likely to take us up on that invitation.

No matter where the internet takes us in future, the likelihood is that the power of social networking in the real world will always have the upper hand when it comes to forging business relationships.

What’s your view?

Face-to-face or hide behind the pc?

Please share your views (others have!) in the comments below.


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18 Responses to Face To Face Networking: The Words Many Small Business Owners Fear

  1. Dennis Edell February 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    I am quite surprised the likes of video-conferencing hasn’t taken off more then it has already in the blogging world.

    All you need to do is brush your teeth, pop a zit and comb your hair…you don’t even need to be fully dressed as long as you don’t plan to stand.

    For bloggers like me, somewhat physically challenged for now, this is where it will be. 😉
    Dennis Edell recently posted..The Scrolling Homepage- A Sticky Tactic You Haven’t Heard…My Profile

  2. Alex February 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Hello Andrew,

    Actually I was just thinking about this, how can people build lasting relations (not the amorous kind) with their audience. And besides what blogger already do I couldn’t find any other good method of creating lasting bonds but meeting that person face to face..

    Personally knowing a person makes you more likely to remember them and to favor them over others and I think it also makes people more sincere.

    Also, business propositions from people you saw in person will most likely be something genuine, because even if they are miles a part, when knowing someone in person you fell awkward if you know what you are proposing is a scam.

    Now, there is an other side of things. Many people prefer anonymity and they might only want to promote a brand from behind which they can do all the business. They don’t want to be known personally but rather as a brand. They can have success to, although I think they need to work harder in order to gain credibility.
    Alex recently posted..Ben 10 Curse cu KartMy Profile

  3. Corinne Edwards
    February 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Dear Andrew –

    If your business is local, it is imperative that you concentrate on face to face networking.

    Join the Chamber of Commerce, see if you can get an invitation to join Rotary – participate in local events like the library and health fairs.

    Networking on a larger level can also help but it is so expensive to travel to blogging conventions.

    I agree with Dennis that video conferences should be more popular.

    I think they will. Most of us have not caught up with that tecnology.

    In the meantime, we have social media and a very important and cheap alternative – Skype.
    Corinne Edwards recently posted..OBSTACLE ILLUSIONS – Stephen J Hopson – Book ReviewMy Profile

  4. nazimwarriach February 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Hey Andrew,
    A lovable article o understand difference between online marketing and face to face marketing.
    I read it twice! It is awesome.
    nazimwarriach recently posted..CoolhandleMy Profile

  5. Timo Kiander March 7, 2011 at 4:51 am #


    I agree. It is very easy to do networking on your computer than actually meeting the people.

    As I’m starting my business, this seems to be another “comfort-zone stretcher” for me – networking with other people face-to-face.

    I don’t know – maybe it is just me, but I’m thinking that networking in a blogging/marketing related event is easier for me, than for e.g going to meet people in a local chamber of commerce events. Maybe because in those latter situations most of the people aren’t bloggers/marketers and it maybe difficult to explain to them what you do.

    Anyway, networking in any kinds of event is powerful.

    • Andrew
      March 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm #


      Perhaps the secret is to be able to communicate to those people who are not bloggers/marketers.

      Imagine how many businesses out there that could benefit from having a blog/web presence.

      Andrew recently posted..WordPress Plugin- You Must Have This InstalledMy Profile

      • Timo Kiander March 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm #


        Actually, later today I realized the same point you just mentioned.

        I too think that we that have more experience of online world, have something to give to those who may not be that familiar with it.

        Because of that, there are possibilities out there that may have been overlooked by many online entrepreneurs.

  6. Brad Harmon May 1, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    You bring up a great point, Andrew. The whole point of this online marketing is to get more business, right? There’s a tendency to forget about the face-to-face interactions while building up our blog communities and social media tribes. Most small business owners can only cash in on these efforts in person though. It’s a great reminder that what we do online should be intertwined with our offline efforts.

  7. Annie June 27, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Great article and point about online businesses. I think most people “hide” behind their computers and they’re able to say and be someone that they may not be able to in person (does that make sense? lol). I tell my husband all the time that life is about meeting people and experiencing whatever may come out way. We’re humans and need that basic human interaction.


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