10 Little-Known But Effective Networking Tips


networking FABA-styleThe Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) provides value to its members, including marketing, advertising and business advice. But nothing is as valuable to small business owners as networking tips. Having access to other local business owners is perhaps the greatest benefit of FABA membership. With that in mind, here are 10 networking tips you should master for the next Coffee Club or Focus After 5 event:

1. Don’t be late.
Make the time to arrive early for FABA networking events. Volunteer to help set up if you get there early or help clean up if you stay late. That extra time will pay off with better relationships with the host. Do it to become known as the kind of person who helps others. That reputation is worth its weight in gold within our local community.

2. Bring your business cards.
Yes, networking is ultimately about making people aware of your business, so have your cards handy. Don’t, however, hand them out willy-nilly. Talk to people while you network (see Tip #3). And when you hand your card to someone, make sure it’s not all bent up and that it’s facing the person you’re presenting it to. Your card is your professional face.

3. Come ready to chat.
One of the best networking tips is to network to make friends, not push your business card on every unsuspecting guest. The goal of networking is to develop relationships, not run out of cards. Ask others about their lives, their hobbies, their interests… anything but business. If you sense a connection, only then pass your card.

4. “Be interested, not interesting.”
According to local small businessman and networking master Mel Fergenbaum, networking doesn’t work unless you’re in the right state of mind. If you’re thinking about being entertaining, you’re not thinking about other people. The point of networking, per Mel, is to discover how you can help others, and the only way to do that is by listening.

5. What have you learned lately?
Make a point to learn at least one new thing at every networking event. This mission will drive you to talk to new people and expand your relationships with those you already know. If you go into networking with this one thought, you’ll get more out of the event than most people do.

6. Keep coming back.
Relationship-building happens over time, so don’t expect to accomplish all your networking goals in one event, no matter how good it is. You have to keep showing up, talking to people and getting to know them while they get to know you. It’s a continual process, where showing up is 90 percent of the work.

7. Help others whenever you can.
As you become part of any group, but especially with a small group like FABA, you get to know who does what and what interests others have. So when you hear of a person having a business problem or looking for some particular product or service, introduce that person to others you think can help. Making connections within the group helps everyone, including yourself.

8. Eat, drink and be merry.
Networking events often offer food and beverages. If you get there early (see Tip #1), you can get your meal out of the way and focus your attention on meeting other people. It’s difficult to talk and pay attention to others with a plate (and mouth) full of food. When you’re conversing, give it your full attention.

9. Take notes when necessary.
Keep a pen or smart phone handy for taking notes. If you learn something from a conversation (see Tip #5), write it down or speak it into your phone for use later. Speaking from experience, it’s a great feeling when someone takes your card and writes on the back of it. Make someone’s day by doing the same for him.

10. Develop your own networking tips.
These networking tips are useful if you follow them, but they are far from complete. Consider the way you network and then create your own top 10 list. They’ll help you perfect your networking at FABA events, which is what you need to keep your business booming.

Written by FABA member Ray Access, which provides clear, consistent online writing services. For businesses, we make your website attract attention and improve your bottom line. For web professionals, we make content delays disappear.


5 Benefits of Hosting Focus After 5

Baabal's ribbon cutting

FABA ribbon cutting at Baabals Ice Cream & Coffee Shoppe

Membership in the Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) is increasing, just as Fletcher itself is growing. Members represent large and small companies in Fletcher and in the surrounding communities. As a result, the events that FABA sponsors have become more and more popular. Take advantage of your FABA membership by hosting a Focus After 5 event. Here’s what you’ll gain:

1. Make a Good Impression
If you host a Focus After 5 event, it’s a good chance for your business to make a good impression, especially if you haven’t hosted an event before. Decide what to show off — your offices, warehouse, guest rooms, whatever is appropriate — and make sure your space reflects the care and quality of your business. This is an amazing opportunity to make a first impression. FABA members respond proactively to positive impressions and lasting memories.

2. Enjoy Better Exposure
It’s better than a free advertisement. It’s better than a popular and productive website. When you host a Focus After 5 business networking social, you invite other members and guests into your business. They come to network, but also to learn more about your business. You get the opportunity to speak to business leaders and representatives of area companies directly. Take advantage and prepare a special welcome.

3. Create Tightly Targeted Promotions
When you run a promotion to the general public, it’s a hit-or-miss proposition. But when you have your target audience already at your business location, where they can see what you do and meet your staff, your promotion has a much better chance of creating a lasting business relationship. FABA members are already incredibly supportive of other members. Give them a reason to keep coming back, and they will support you.

4. Put Your Business on the Map
As we mentioned in #2 above, hosting a Focus After 5 event brings FABA members into your business. If they haven’t been to your business before, they will finally find where you are. Most FABA members live and work in Fletcher. If you’re close by, they will return for future visits — and tell their friends and colleagues about you. Letting them know where your business is located is the first step to increasing foot traffic to your business.

5. Be Part of a Select Few
FABA holds a Focus After 5 event once a month. November is the annual membership meeting, and December is the annual Christmas party. That leaves 10 months of after-hours events. If your business hosts a Focus After 5, it will be in very select company. Members and guests remember their after-hours experiences, and Focus After 5 is no different. Stay in the front of their minds, and they’ll use your business when the need arises. That’s the best reason to host a Focus After 5 event.

Written by FABA member Ray Access, which provides clear, consistent online writing services. For businesses, we make your website attract attention and improve your bottom line. For web professionals, we make content delays disappear.

Why Join FABA in 2015?

FABA Ribbon Cutting_Indoff

Ribbon Cutting at Indoff Design Studio

Why Join FABA in 2015?

Grow your business and give back to the community.

Fletcher is a growing market that benefits from its location between Asheville and Hendersonville. More and more businesses are starting up or relocating here. Why? It’s a small town with big town connections. It’s a community that welcomes new businesses and provides room to grow.

The Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) is a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes local business. It hosts events that bring the business community together to enable effective networking. It gives back to the community with charity, good will and positive publicity.

What FABA Can Do for Your Business

The trees in FABA’s logo signify both the interconnectedness of commerce and the potential for growth. As an organization created by and for businesses, FABA works actively to:

  • Promote your business to the general public, as well as to other local businesses
  • Allow you to announce your business with a ribbon-cutting ceremony
  • Provide opportunities for you to build lasting relationships with other business owners
  • Introduce you to business resources you can’t find elsewhere
  • Deliver educational programs that help you grow your business more efficiently
  • Help you reach more customers through advertising and marketing

Get Involved

Like any membership organization, though, the more you give, the more you get. Join FABA to get involved with the local business community. By getting to know the other business owners — and letting them get to know you — you can forge ties that lead to more referrals within the community. By attending FABA events, you gain recognition and trust.

When you join, you’ll be welcomed into a friendly group of committed business owners. Attend the biweekly “coffee club” meetings to announce your business. Mingle with other business owners at the monthly Focus After Five networking meetings. Participate in the annual FABA Expo to reach more customers. Volunteer your time to show you too care about the town and the people in it.

Giving Back

When you join FABA, your goal is likely to grow your business. What happens over time as you reach your goals is that you discover a fondness for the community that has fostered your business. So it’s only natural to want to give something back.

FABA takes its place in the community at large very seriously. It currently sponsors a “Snack Pack Program,” to provide snacks for students at the Fletcher Elementary School. Many underprivileged children don’t get the additional nutrition and energy boost during the school day, so FABA collects donations for the school. It’s a simple way to give back to the community, and it’s only one of the ways FABA helps.

A Great Return on Investment

Membership dues to join FABA are just $100 for the first year and $125 for each following year. If you’re active in the organization, your investment returns terrific dividends:

  • More opportunities to connect with potential customers
  • Increased visibility with FABA’s promotional and networking events
  • Better support to develop your leadership skills
  • Sessions to learn new business strategies and development techniques
  • Ready advice and support from other FABA members

All business owners want to grow their business, and FABA provides a supportive environment to help its members do just that. Once you get involved, you’ll find a business community ready and willing to help you get your business to the next level, regardless what level you’re currently on. FABA welcomes established businesses and start-ups, large corporations and solopreneurs.

So if you are ready to grow your business in 2015 and want to meet other motivated business owners, it’s time to join FABA.

Written by FABA member Ray Access, which provides clear, consistent online writing services for businesses. We can make your website attract attention and improve your bottom line.

2014 FABA Christmas Party Introduces New Board Members

2014 FABA Holiday Party at High Vista Country Club

2014 FABA Holiday Party at High Vista Country Club

President Steve Clark steps aside after successful year.

On December 4, 2014, the Fletcher Area Business Association held its annual Christmas gala event at the High Vista Country Club in Mills River. In keeping with all great events, getting there was half the fun — into Mills River, up a steep climb, through a housing development, and past the golf course to the clubhouse.

The party brought out many FABA members, guests, and the Fletcher town council, including Mayor Bill Moore. Louise St. Romain of Fast Cat Studio captured all the attendees’ smiling faces as they arrived, while servers offered bruschetta appetizers to the mingling crowd. Asheville Party DJ Eric Everett supplied the holiday tunes.

FABA Members (L-R) Jennifer Lane, Clive Possinger, Teona Rodriguez, and Mark Bloom

FABA Members (L-R) Jennifer Lane, Clive Possinger, Teona Rodriguez, and Mark Bloom

After a few remarks by outgoing FABA President Steve Clark and the mayor’s benediction, everyone enjoyed a superb buffet and continued their conversations. Because it was after nightfall, the only thing missing at the event was the fabled view from the High Vista clubhouse. If only the party had started earlier!

A Good Year for FABA

While dessert was being served (with special thanks to Aggie Libassi, the Italian Cookie Lady), Steve Clark summed up the year. “FABA experienced a phenomenal year of progress and growth in 2014. Sarah Thew, our Communication/PR Director — along with her husband Tim who own Carolina Blue Design Group — implemented website revisions. And thanks in large part to David Jordan, our Membership Director, we experienced continued growth in membership.

“Ben Kish, our Fundraising Director, increased our Snack-Pack Program, which provides snacks to children who would not otherwise have them at Fletcher Elementary, from 80 kids per day in 2013 to more than 180 kids! And we enjoyed our very successful and first ever Outdoor Expo, directed by Teona Rodriguez.

“There are many more examples that I don’t have time tonight to mention. Just know that your Board is hard at work making this organization the best it can be for you, our members, and for Fletcher and its business community.”

The Incoming Board of Directors

The Christmas party also provided the backdrop for the introduction of the new FABA board of directors:

Steve Clark and Lynn Cordell have traded places for 2015, while Jennifer Lane replaces Sarah Thew and Michelle Tracz replaces Marilyn Lane of The Lane Organization (FABA is a family affair!). The rest of the board returns for another year. What more proof do you need that no one on the all-volunteer board is overworked? To get involved and gain visibility for your company, contact Lynn Cordell at 828-458-8212 or fletcher_ad@choice-health.net.

Each of the 2014 board members received an engraved memento, and everyone stayed for the many, many door prizes. Here’s to another successful year for FABA in 2015. May you all enjoy the holiday season. We hope to see you at an event soon! Merry Christmas to all and to all a prosperous new year.

Written by FABA member Ray Access, which is in the business of writing for business. We can make any website stand out and attract attention.

April 10, 2014 Focus After Five

fletcher nc business

FABA Annual Meeting Hosted by Pardee/Mission Collaborative

FABA Membership final_WEB

FABA Coffee Club AM Leads & Referrals

Coffee Club Leads Networking Referral Group logo

Your bi-weekly connection to business owners, professionals, and leaders in and around
Fletcher, North Carolina.

Remember to join us the 1st & 3rd Tuesday mornings at First Restoration Services of Asheville for a great, casually structured networking event. Refer business to one another, share stories to help your business grow, and stay in the loop.

Who: YOU & several area business movers &
What: Network, get business referrals,
give business referrals
WhenSeptember 17, 8:15 – 9:00 AM
WhereFirst Restoration Services of Asheville

Why: If your target market includes people and businesses in the Fletcher Area, it’s time to share leads, enjoy a cup o’ joe, connect with community, get exposure for your business, and gain top of mind share over your competitors.

The Coffee Club is an NON-exclusive group. No matter if there is already a business member in your industry category, competition is a good thing. (We don’t share confidential info here, anyway). Anybody can join! There’s no charge to visit a couple of times…see how it fits, and if it feels right, membership is extremely affordable ($100 for the first year) and offers even more opportunities to network, grow your business, learn, and enjoy.

Chances are you’ll connect with some great folks and learn about how the business community in the Fletcher area is changing and growing.

The Coffee Club is a casually-structured meeting. Come a little early to make a cup of coffee and connect with other guests.

Then we grab a seat around the table where each of us has an opportunity to talk about ourselves, business, cause, event, whatever you’d like (as long as it’s legal.) Take up to about a minute, because if you run over, the chairman’s dog will bark at you. (kidding about the dog part)

We’ll make announcements and share information about events and goings-on in the business community. Many of our members support the great non profit organizations we have in Western North Carolina, and want you to know about them.

Finally, one lucky member has the floor for 15 minutes. Often times, it’s educational, but mostly you’re in the spotlight to discuss the value you offer to consumers, features & benefits of your products and services, other businesses, causes, events, and our community.

The group is growing along with our communities. We started with a handful of committed FABA members. Through word of mouth and social media, our attendance continues to grow, and new businesses join us almost every meeting. Expect to see about 20+ people participating on any Tuesday.

We hope you will take advantage of this great opportunity to grow your business through membership in the Fletcher Area Business Association. Hope to see you there!

Fletcher Area Association Business Expo date set for September 24 at the WNC Agricultural Center

Returning exhibitor priority deadline: Fri. August 30, 2013

New exhibitor deadline: Fri. September 13, 2013

Flier for Fletcher Association Business Expo Info

Why exhibit at the annual FABA Business Expo?

Our main goal is for you to gain qualified leads and referrals while displaying or demonstrating your business’ products and services at our trade show. You’ll have direct, face-to-face contact with business professionals in the community and powerful decision-makers.

While you brand your business for lasting impact, you’ll also have the opportunity to reach a captive audience, generate new customers, and make on-the-spot sales with a trade show special promotion.

Introduce new products and services, or survey attendees and other exhibitors for market research. Give away product samples, and gain access to the press…

This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses throughout North Carolina to showcase their products and services, see what the Fletcher area has to offer, and network with local business owners.

Plus, each year we raffle off an awesome gift.

Exhibitor ‘booths’ with 6ft. tables and two chairs will be provided. Premium spaces allow you to hang a banner. Spaces are allocated based on priority for previous exhibitors who reserve before their deadline. Remaining spaces are assigned based on first-come, first-served basis.

Become an exhibitor today and reach local business professionals in one place, at one time!