When I checked the definition online of networking this morning, I discovered there are many types. Not just one, many. What I have always known as networking is now known as business networking. Defined as a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like minded business people, who recognize, create or act upon business opportunities.
In years past, well many years past now, many of us grew our businesses through what we knew as networking. We met someone, they had a certain type of business. We learned more about them, maybe even engaged their services or product for ourself or business, then we referred people to them.
For many years I belonged to a professional women’s breakfast club which met weekly for the purpose of networking. We each introduced ourselves after breakfast, told a bit about our business, thanked those we had exchanged business with or a favor done and gained business referrals through this group. We were a loyal group. We were not intimidated or threaten by the other women for them asking for business or referring business. We stood strong as a group and individually. When one’s business was a bit off, we stepped up to help. No one was threaten or insulted. It was what we did for one another. What we did for the community. What we did as business women.
So it has come as a huge surprise and absolute miserable time to move to a small town and attempting to apply what I know to help each of the merchants. One always felt I was going to copy her if I walked through her shop to know what she had so I could send customers to her. Another did not want me to bring a customer in and show her something that she would buy. They wanted to be the total control and star of their business and saw anyone else trying to help even if their business was off, as a threat.
While I no longer own a shop in the small town, I still am incline to attempt to help since it is a quiet dying little town. More so because of no one wanting to work together to make it better yet all angry and upset that there is little to no business and even more upset if someone else has a sale and they don’t. Just yesterday I received a very hateful email…no call mind you and email…more or less telling me to butt out when I had made an effort to help a tenant of the woman save their business through referral of someone to them to consign. I also had hoped to consign items myself however that became a huge threat to others in the shop. Not sure why when all of them would have benefited.
So It was extremely hurtful and so unnecessary because everyone should be willing to help the other be it for business reasons or other reasons. Yet we have reached a point in this society where help is viewed as threatening. No one has any control any longer so it seems or the feeling is such. Everyone seems to feel threaten by the smallest little thing especially if the other person seems more secure.
When one has a history of networking…business networking that is…it is second nature to try to do so. For someone to see that as a threat to their position, their control, their well being, their self image is not only foreign to me, it is extremely sad.
Especially in a small town, people should band together and welcome the help of anyone willing and able to offer assistance be it through bringing a customer or a vendor for their shop. To do otherwise is a huge turnoff for business as is the case with me. I will no longer shop the Main Street of this town and particularly the shop of the woman who sent the email. Nor will I suggest it to anyone else. Why should I? Why would I? One need only take abuse once and never again.
Yet for those open to networking….business networking…well networking for anything as in person to person, business to business, organization to organization…it is truly a beneficial and wonderful way to live. An approach which seems to be brought back for the good of many.