Networking at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but some of you have networking terribly confused.  If the only people who support you and/or your business are the ones that are paying you or that you are paying, you have a very weak network.  Seriously, when the money runs out, where do you think you and your business will be? You are setting yourself up to be a one hit wonder.

Also, if you have a reached a point in your career where you feel like you don’t have time or that you are too good to network with people that you perceive to be beneath you, you are setting yourself up for a mighty fall.  It amazes me when I introduce myself to someone and they cooly respond as if I am not worthy of their time and attention.  Guess what?  Keep that attitude because when I see a link to your site, I won’t be clicking on it.  When I see one of your products for sale, I will gladly pass right on by it.  You can never forget that it is the support of the people that got you where you are.  When you forget about your audience, you are essentially stating that you don’t want to have a long and successful career.  You may enjoy an abundance of success today but I can assure you that your longevity is being reduced by each person shunned.

Enough of that… I actually met some really cool people doing some great things and I want you to take some time to check out the five that made the biggest impression on me.  You will probably see a more detailed profile of them in coming weeks as a part of my “It’s All About…” series.

DeJuan Hendricks of Midsouth Marketing Partners had to be listed first because he is one of the most effective networkers that I have ever met.  This man is about his business of making contacts and building his multicultural business development and marketing organization. MMP mission is to be develop small businesses into regional enterprises within the Memphis MSA and help market products and services of businesses headquartered outside the region.  For more information, email DeJuan at dejuan@midsouthmp.com.

Yes, my network is international.  I met Dean Lloyd during the opening session and enjoyed each follow up conversation the ensued.  Dean came to the A from Toronto to promote his marketing firm, Verb.  They offer a wide variety of strategic and creative options to help you brand your business. Check out their newly redesigned website, www.verbiage.ca

The company with the best people presence at the conference was Colbert/ Ball Tax Services.  Their Franchise Consultant, Sean Deese, has a wonderful personality and was extremely professional while exhibiting a sense of humor that I know has helped him close many deals.  I had the pleasure of attending their “Success Seminar” and walked away considering opening my own tax services franchise.  That was one heck of a sales pitch because before stepping foot in that room, a tax services franchise was no where on my radar.  Visit their website at www.colbertballtax.com for more information on the opportunities in your area.

Owner, Toks Ogun, of Marvel Web was one of the ten finalist in the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch contest.  At first I wondered how a web design firm made it to the finals, after all aren’t there a million web designers in Atlanta alone?  However, after speaking with Toks about one of his upcoming projects and visiting his website, I realized that Marvel Web has set itself apart from the competition by focusing on being informative and designing some simply beautiful sites. See for yourself at http://marvelweb.com

Patrick Henderson, CEO, and Zeric Foster, CPO, were hands down the most ambitious pair that I met.  These young entrepreneurs and graduates of Tuskegee University came to our networking event at the W Hotel and they were ready to do business.  Their company, Atlanta Sports Connection, is in the process of fundraising to build a  multi-million dollar sports complex in Atlanta.  As a Business Consultant, I was very intrigued with their project and asked them a ton of questions.  To my delight, they had intelligent answers to everything I asked.  Their project is large in scope but I firmly believe that their team will be successful.  Visit their website, http://atlantasportsconnection.com, to get a glimpse of the future for Atlanta.

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3 thoughts on “Networking at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference

  1. Excellent observations! I saw some of the same things you mentioned. It’s sad when people want to act as if they are above someone because they perceive them to not be their business equal. I saw quite a few very successful but demure business people get snubbed because they didn’t come out the gate mentioning what they were worth. People need a refresher course in networking etiquette. But overall it was a great conference. I walked away with valuable insight and wonderful new connections.

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