“Hello, what do you do?”
The two northern Nevada business women were part of a breakfast club 20 strong that met June 29 for not only food, but also business friendships. The group gathered in the 14th floor conference room of C4 Cube, a business development company that agreed to let the Nevada Black Chamber of Commerce host the event there.
“I was looking for a new opportunity to connect with different people,” Slabaugh said of the networking event. “At other (area) chamber events, you tend to see a lot of the same people. Here, I was seeking out a new opportunity.”
Slabaugh added that this networking group, unlike others, was serious about business development.
“They really make this about networking,” she said.
According to Robert Half Management Resources, an international consulting firm, 70 to 80 percent of all corporate positions are acquired through personal and professional connections. In addition, the United States Small Business Administration claims that about 70 percent of new business is generated by word of mouth and personal contact.
“We want to take small-business owners who don’t have access to a lot of resources and get them in a room with all the resources they need,” said Mary Ann Andrews, president of the Nevada Black Chamber of Commerce and vice president of business development and operations at Sage International, a wealth protection company based in Reno.
“I have found a bookkeeper through one of these,” Andrews said with a laugh.
Many at the monthly breakfast agreed that networking is about breaking out of regular social molds and getting to know someone new, especially someone who can fulfill a need.
Sergio Nevel was looking for startup financing for his green building materials business.
“I have been to some business forums and other networking events,” Nevel said, adding that he was just looking to meet the right people.
The right people for him are those who are interested in backing a company that makes reinforcing materials for retaining walls out of old tires.
“It is strong because of the steel belting but inexpensive,” Nevel said.
As Nevel and other business people nibbled on their muffins and chatted in the conference room, Andrews was excited about the possibilities brewing.
“People don’t do business anymore with people they don’t know,” she said. “They want to not only know but also trust you.”