In South Florida, there’s a growing trend for business owners to participate in more face-to-face networking activities. At first this might seem counterintuitive because you know that online and mobile marketing are growing faster than anyone can keep up.
When you examine the growth of in-person networking you will also find that the vast majority of those entrepreneurs are Baby Boomers. In fact, the 50 Plus participants in these breakfast, coffee, and connecting meetings are experienced business owners who want help getting new customers. They have come from a world of doing business on a handshake which is now being replaced by doing business at a click of a mouse , a text message, or a video.
Why are so many fifty plus entrepreneurs looking for help and leads at networking events ? It’s because these business owners have skills and experience which includes building relationships.In-person networking for most fits in their comfort zone. They have built their businesses one customer at a time, one referral at a time, over time. Relationship building takes time and they are prepared to put in the time to cultivate these relationships.
Business owners come to networking meetings often for the purpose of getting recommendations and referrals from other business owners in their community who can lead them to the products and services they need for their business and personal lives. A common goal of many networkers in the 50+ age bracket is for them to be introduced or referred to those who can help them succeed with online and mobile marketing. The business owners want referrals so they can connect with other business owners who have already earned the trust of their peers.
According to Dave Case, of TextRoi, “As a middle-aged entrepreneur I had to learn the latest technology to compete in the marketplace . This mobile marketing education has allowed me to be part of this new way of marketing and connecting with customers to build my own business. I am dedicated to helping other business owners embrace and use the latest technology for their success. If you’re asking my advice and what I recommend to business owners it’s that I encourage business owners to get started . I tell them to let me help you to get comfortable with mobile marketing by learning new skills and using new technology.
I know you are going to be uncomfortable at first and that’s fine. If you don’t get started you are not going to be able to compete in the marketplace and it’s not too late to start now. Get started. I help them feel comfortable being uncomfortable learning new skills. Just because you can do things instantly doesn’t mean you will be an instant expert. Start, learn, be patient with yourself and grow your business using this technology, Why not?”
Many of the 50+ entrepreneurs are established and experienced in their respective niches. Others, are starting in a new direction that they need to grow and build which is also common after the hard-hitting recession . Business owners want to sell their products and services and they are getting out there to find people who will buy from them or refer them new business.
A group of entrepreneurs in Boca Raton, Florida has decided to combine their expertise in online marketing to help their 50+ entrepreneurs learn how to compete using tools and techniques available with online marketing. ” If you understand what it means to call someone on the phone, embrace ways of doing that faster without having to dial and talk to anyone using text messaging. .
You’ll find many of the 20,000+ entrepreneurs -participants of the “Your Local Business Connection” group – one of the largest business networking groups in South Florida,-can be found gathering early mornings of each weekday at places like Toojay’s Delis throughout Broward and Dade Counties and other local establishments beginning at 7:45AM and lasting until about 9AM.
The business locations which host these meetings offer affordable breakfast options and an informal business meeting environment. During each of these networking events the participants introduce themselves for 30 seconds to a minute and share information about what they have to offer. They introduce people to their products and services and openly ask for referrals.
The majority of the group members that have been at the meetings you see pictures of here in this article are BabyBoomers who have been networking for a long time. Now, a group of online experts is helping these entrepreneurs embrace, learn , and implement tools and techniques of online marketing.
The 50+ entrepreneurs are sometimes afraid of what they don’t know, some are hesistant to change because they don’t know that they could get more done in a faster manner using software, computers, and texting to reach their potential customers .
Entrepreneurs are finding comfort and comraderie over coffee without having to pay membership fees each step of the way to meet people. They are opening up their minds and slowly, but surely, they are opening up their wallets to spending the money to move their marketing online .
In Boca Raton, a group of networkers has combined their offline efforts of in-person networking with a focused effort which taps into the online expertise of their group members to expand their reach and influence faster. They are creating buzz and showing other business owners how to do the same.
For many of the networking groups, another big trend is towards educational sessions, workshops, and seminars. The business owners know they either need to learn lots of new skills to compete in this global digital economy or hire people who have all of the skills they need. In most cases, because the majority of the participants are small business owners, they will do some work on what you’d call the “do it yourself” method and some of the work they need to get done is work they will hire others to do for them.