March FABA News

FABA AvatarFABA Blog March 2016

by Jim Stramler,




FABA meetings:

FABA meetings are a great chance for you to do some relationship building, networking, and marketing.


The FABA Coffee Club meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 8-9 AM at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 235 Saint John Road, Fletcher.  At each meeting, a representative from one business has the opportunity to present a brief summary of what the company does. If you are interested in a presentation at Coffee Club, contact Steve Clark at


Focus After 5 is a networking opportunity after work.  It typically meets the second Thursday of each month from 5:30 – 7.

The Focus After 5 location varies, and is typically established months in advance.  If you would like to sponsor this activity, see Teona or Glen.  Their contact information is on the Contact Us page of the website.



New Members:

We provide a hearty welcome to three of our new members this month.  We’ll have more next month.


IndoffBrian Galloway is a representative / distributor for Indoff, Inc., which produces industrial equipment.  Brian represents two Indoff divisions – Material Handling and Energy Solutions.  He’s been in his current Mills River location for 13 years.  Some of his local customers have been Sierra Nevada and Meritor, but he ranges far and wide – to Charlotte, etc.  Indoff is not a simple catalog company.  It’s a service-oriented company with engineering and layout support for its customers.




Absolute Design

Kevin Wright is with Absolute Design and Print, Inc., a family-owned business.  He’s been in business under other names in the area since the 1970s, 1½ years in his current location on American Way.  He provides one-on-one service, and has graphic designers for logos and other design work.  He does most printing in-house.  He was a previous FABA member, and even wrote the FABA newsletter for a while.



Inform Systems

Russ Truluck, and his locally-owned company Inform Systems Data Documents, Inc., have been in business for 28 years.  He was the first tenant in his current location on Buck Shoals.  Inform offers a variety of useful promotional products, including unique Light-up products, imprinted tote bags, custom T-shirts, and others.  He differentiates his business from others by his team’s levels of experience and performance, as well as a determination to treat customers well and do the right thing.



Business News:

Some of us have noticed the pipeline being installed along Cane Creek Rd. near the intersection of Old Airport Rd.  This is a PSNC natural gas pipeline upgrade.  They are putting in a much larger line to accommodate both the conversion of the Duke Energy Lake Julian power generating system to gas and support for other future growth needs in our region.


The Blue Ridge Community College is sponsoring the Disney Institute’s Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence professional development course at its Flat Rock campus on May 4th.

This highly rated course has received rave reviews.  To learn more, go to this link.

Registration is $395 and includes all course materials as well as lunch and parking.

If you went to the Disney Institute in Florida for this program the cost would be on the order of $2000 with travel and lodging.

Some seats are still available.  To register contact M.C. Gaylord at or 828-694-1779




With the nicer weather, come out take some time to enjoy Fletcher Park.  It’s located off Howard Gap Rd., near Hendersonville Rd.



Join FABA and build relationships.


February FABA News

FABA meetings:

The FABA Coffee Club meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 8-9 AM at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 235 Saint John Road, Fletcher.  At each meeting, everyone attending gets to introduce themselves and their business, plus a representative from one business has the opportunity to present a more indepth summary of what their company does.  It’s a chance for you to do some marketing and build relationships.

FABA Coffee Club by Fletcher Area Business Association

Focus After 5 is a networking opportunity after work.  It meets the second Thursday of each month from 5:30 – 7.  This month, on February 11th, it was hosted by the Duncan-Iles Foundation at the WCU School of Nursing in Biltmore Park, 28 Schenck Parkway, Suite 102.


The location varies.  See the Events tab on the FABA website for the next location.


Other FABA information:

Last month we presented the FABA officers and committee chairs.  This month, I thought we would share what each of them does.  


Participating in FABA committees provides networking opportunities for your business.  Please contact the committee Chair so you can benefit.




serves as chief officer of FABA and presides at all meetings of the membership and the Board of Directors (BOD).  Assigns board members to committee responsibilities.


acts in the absence of the President and “other duties as assigned and approved” by the BOD


oversees collection and expenditures of all FABA funds – prepares monthly financial reports to the BOD and an annual report to members.


keeps all minutes and records of the organizations




responsible for maintaining and growing FABA memberships including making sure members information is quickly and correctly added to the website.


responsible for delivering any FABA swag, promoting on social media and scheduling ribbon cuttings in coordination with the Events Chair

Communications and Marketing

responsible for posting updates to Facebook, sending blast emails to members regarding upcoming events on the calendar.

Social Media

works closely with Communications chair to make sure every aspect of our marketing efforts are successful.

Community Relations

works with FABA members and local supports to supply snacks to Fletcher Elementary students.

Government Relations

Town Manager serves as a representative between FABA and the Town of Fletcher notifying each entity of any updates or changes that may affect members and new businesses in the area.


secures and coordinates all FABA Events from the Expo, to Focus After Five to the annual Christmas party; works in conjunction with the Communications Chair to make sure all members are aware of each upcoming event and assure the event itself is successful.


Business News:

The Seasons at Cane Creek, the large 192 unit apartment complex off Hendersonville Road in Fletcher is now renting.



The State Board of Community Colleges in Raleigh recently announced the 2016 recipients of five State-wide awards.

Gary Heisey, the Director of the Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) in Flat Rock, won the Staff of the Year Award for his collaborating efforts with groups such as the Transylvania and Henderson Chambers of Commerce and other partners to support the economic development of our community.  Best in the State!

Gary spoke recently at a FABA Coffee Club meeting.

He runs a great program supporting local area businesses.  I’ve known Gary myself for over a year.  He’s always very helpful and a pleasure to work with.

Congratulations, Gary.



With the near-record snowfall we had in January, things were put on the shelf for a couple of days.  Pockets of snow are still around.

As you probably heard, the Pennsylvania ground hog Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow on February 2nd.  Thus Winter is supposed to be over soon for them.

Asheville’s own groundhog predictor, named Nibbles, didn’t see her shadow either.  Thus we’re also supposed to have an early spring.


Over time, each month has been designated for certain causes.  For February, these are (according to

   American Heart Month

   An Affair to Remember Month  (Hmmm.  This sounds interesting.)

   Black History Month

   Canned Food Month

   Creative Romance Month

   Great American Pie Month

   National Cherry Month

   National Children’s Dental Health Month

   National Grapefruit Month

   National Weddings Month


Join FABA and build relationships.


Jim Stramler, An Extraordinary Writer

FABA Holiday Party / Happy New Year 2016

It’s a new year, and though some things change, others remain the same.

One of the things that changed is the FABA blog writer. Hi, I’m Jim Stramler – also known as An Extraordinary Writer/Copywriter. I’ve been very impressed with the town of Fletcher and I’m grateful to Lynn and the FABA Board for asking me to do this. We are grateful to Mark Bloom, who provided our blog posts for 2015.

FABA-Holiday-Party-2015FABA’s holiday party on December 10th was huge success – very well attended and everyone commenting on having a good time in a great facility. As you can see from the photo, the room was filled. FABA wants to extend a terrific thanks to Paula Warren and Cindy Warlick of Broadmoor for their great support of the party.

FABA is an all-volunteer organization with a Board of Directors and fortunately most Board members decided to continue their positions in 2016. This provides some important continuity in helping FABA and the area grow.

We welcome Shane Lunsford as the new Communications & Marketing Board member and Choya Harden as the new Social Media Coordinator.

The FABA Board members for 2016 are:
– Lynn Cordell, President
– Steve Clark, Vice President
– Kristi Sink, Secretary
– Michelle Tracz, Treasurer
– David Jordan, Membership
– Jared Bellmund, Membership
– Shane Lunsford, Communications and Marketing
– Teona Rodriguez, Events
– Glen Bonetti, Events
– Mark Biberdorf, Government Relations, Fletcher Town Manager
– Ben Kish, Community Relations
– Choya Harden, Social Media Coordinator

FABA has several committees headed by the Board members for a given subject, which serve to promote the area. If you’re interested in any of these, please check with the Board member for that area. Their contact information is on the FABA website.

The Fletcher Holiday Parade featured 45 entries from various businesses, churches, and other groups – such as scouts, sports, and vehicles. Fletcher Parks & recreation estimated about 1500 spectators watched the Parade.

I had an opportunity to speak with Mark Biberdorf, the Fletcher Town Manager, about what is going on in Fletcher. He noted the current expansions of Borg-Warner and Apple Tree Honda. A new Wingate Hotel is under construction, as well as a major apartment complex. Fletcher is a thriving “up and coming” community with strategic planning for a great downtown area. The Town Hall building completion in 2014 is a big part of that. We’d like to extend special thanks to Fletcher Mayor Bill Moore and the Town Council for their continued and valuable FABA support.

If you’re not already a FABA member, we invite you to join. It’s a great opportunity to meet, network, and form relationships with people from the area.

And once you join, you should participate to obtain the greatest benefits from your membership. Participation means, in part, taking a small amount of time to attend our regular meetups. They are listed on our Facebook page.

FABA members are not only from Fletcher city businesses. We have members from Asheville, Hendersonville, Arden, Fairview, and other local communities. By Fletcher Area, we mean the AREA.

Take advantage of your membership and let FABA help your business.

Volunteers Make It All Come Together

2015 FABA BoardVolunteers Make It All Come Together
Membership in a volunteer organization doesn’t come with obligations. But you have to show up to get any benefits. And the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Volunteering at the Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) provides you with a multitude of reasons to be grateful all year long. Participation results in:
• Deeper relationships
• More business
• Extensive visibility
• Community recognition

Multitasking Masters
Volunteers make FABA work. None of the FABA activities would be possible without strong leadership and a dedicated Board of Directors. Board secretary Kristi Sink, Mission Hospital Vice President of Ambulatory & Ancillary Services, says it best: “It is my pleasure to serve as the Secretary for the organization. I strongly believe in our mission and am proud of the services we bring to our members.“

With few opportunities to double-down with their free time, board members have seen first-hand how their involvement strengthens their businesses while serving the community. “Participating in FABA offers an effective way to connect with people and organizations in the Fletcher area,” says board member Ben Kish, Director of Business Training and Personal Enrichment at Blue Ridge Community College.
“FABA also provides a great opportunity to give back to our community. The organization is a fun way to work with a great group of people who want to increase their impact in and around the Town of Fletcher.“

Live and Learn
Board members meet regularly to keep the organization strong and share their experiences with each other. Jennifer Lane, marketing assistant with The Lane Organization and the outgoing FABA communications chair says: “Being on the board of FABA, I have learned more about our community and the importance of serving and giving back. I was very lucky to be surrounded by smart, successful board members who taught me a lot.”

Michelle Tracz, owner of Michelle Tracz, CPA, CFE, PLLC, agrees. “It’s truly a privilege and an honor to sit each month at the board meetings with a group of amazingly dedicated, enthusiastic, and talented people. I am grateful to be a part of this fantastic group, both as a member and as a board member.” As FABA’s treasurer, she says that her participation has helped not only grow her business, but also aided in overcoming fears about branching out.

It’s Just Good Business
Philanthropy that pays you back is the best kind of giving. United Federal Credit Union branch manager Steve Clark appreciates the opportunity to pay it forward while educating the community about his company. Others know that what’s good for the community is good for their businesses. Even the Town of Fletcher participates. “I am a firm believer that a strong business community helps to support a more economically viable government and services for our residents,” says town manager and FABA board member Mark Biberdorf.

And the relationships keep growing stronger, as Jared Bellmund, independent agent with Carolina Living Insurance, says: “The greatest benefit I received by being involved in FABA is definitely the strong, long-lasting personal relationships I’ve made with other business members. I directly attribute my ability to successfully transition to an independent insurance agent to the supportive relationships that have been formed from my association to FABA.”

Awareness Prevails
The board members of FABA know what’s going on in the community because they, in part, shape its future. Board president Lynn Cordell, of Universal Health Care Fletcher, says that her primary goal is to educate seniors about the services available to them, while Glen Bonetti, commercial sales rep with Morris Broadband says, “Personally, working as a board member on FABA helps keep me current on the business atmosphere in our area.”

Board members currently serving the all-volunteer organization:
• Lynn Cordell, Chairwoman
Steve Clark, Vice-Chairman
Kristi Sink, Secretary
Michelle Tracz, Treasurer
David Jordan, Membership
Jennifer Lane, Communications and Marketing
• Jared Bellmund, Welcome
• Teona Rodriguez, Events
• Glen Bonetti, Events
• Mark Biberdorf, Town Representative
Ben Kish, Fundraising

Thank you all for your service.


David Jordan and Teona Rodriguez at one of the FABA EXPO booths.

David Jordan and Teona Rodriguez at the FABA EXPO booth.

2015 FABA Expo

On a beautiful fall Tuesday in October, the Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) held its annual Expo. The Expo highlights the various businesses around Fletcher that prospered and thrived over the past year. It’s part celebration, part community event and part business promotion.

This year, the event took place at the Fletcher Community Park on Howard Gap Road. More than 40 Fletcher businesses participated, and about 100 locals — families, residents and businesspeople — came out to enjoy the weather, feast on free food, meet the businesses and try to win some fantastic prizes. By all accounts, the event was a complete success.

New This Year
Like last year, Hendersonville Tents supplied the shade under which businesses set up their tables. They also provided games for the children, which proved popular. Unlike last year, this year’s event featured a whole row of nonprofit booths. FABA allowed area nonprofits to set up tables for free.

While organizations Duncan-Iles Foundation, Inc., Let’s Twist Again Foundation Motorcycle Therapy, Give an Hour, Fletcher Arts and Heritage Association, Rotary Club of Arden and Friends of Santa took advantage of the offer, there was space for more. Maybe next year, other area nonprofits will participate. It’s a terrific way for the organizations to spread their message and for Fletcher residents to learn about how they help the community. It’s also a positive step by the business community to give back.

Another Successful Expo
With Baabals Ice Cream, Fletcher Valley Market, Blue Sky Café and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit supplying food and drink, the event was also a success for visitors. No one left hungry or without a handful of promotional products. It was a win-win for the community, as both businesses and residents came away with something.

And since it was held on such a gorgeous day, everyone enjoyed the proceedings. Music filled the air, provided by WTZQ Radio (95.3 FM/1600 AM) out of Hendersonville. Children ran from booth to booth, collecting samples and munching on treats. Adults conversed about business, charity, community and even Fletcher’s history. It was a day the Town of Fletcher could be proud of.

FABA Expo Attendees
Fletcher area businesses were represented in good number and in good variety. Banks (e.g., Asheville Savings Bank) and credit unions (e.g., United Federal Credit Union) peacefully coexisted under the tents. Park Ridge Health and Mission Hospital shared their stories not far from each other. Competing restoration services — like 1-800 Water Damage, SERVPRO and Rainbow International — handed out promotional material nearby.

Competitive services joined forces for the Expo to benefit the community and show off the strength of Fletcher’s economy. Hotels like the Clarion Inn and the Fletcher Park Inn displayed their materials. Two insurance companies, Carolina Living and AFLAC, competed for the biggest, friendliest smile. Fletcher Police Department, Fletcher Parks and Recreation, Fast Cat Photography, Joslyn Fine Metalworks, Indoff Interior Design, US Cellular, Edward Jones Financial, Prime Mortgage of West Asheville and others also exhibited.

The event was as much about business promotion as it was about giving back to the community. In other words, it was about visibility and service. If you own a business in Fletcher, it can definitely serve you well to participate in FABA and at the FABA Expo next year! It’s good for business and good for community.

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.

Member Profile: Hendersonville Tents

Stacy & Steven Bishop of Hendersonville Tents

Stacy & Steven Bishop of Hendersonville Tents

Member Profile: Hendersonville Tents

Steven and Stacy Bishop are the third generation of family owners of Hendersonville Tents Party & Event Rentals. And while their predecessors put in plenty of sweat and tears to get the business up and running, Steven and Stacy have had to amplify that level of effort to keep the company successful. Hendersonville Tents is a small business after all, and all small businesses require continued hard work, relationship building and more hard work.

Two years ago, the Bishops joined the Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA). And they are active in the organization and in the community they serve. Although there are times, especially in the summer months, when both Steven and Stacy have to put in long hours at work and don’t get to network as much as they’d like, it hasn’t stopped them from participating. For the past two years, they supplied the tents for the FABA Expo, making the event rainproof.

Humble Beginnings
Steven’s grandfather started the business in 1977, making a tent for a revival he hosted. By 1984 (31 years ago), the company incorporated. At first, it was a simple business: renting, buying, selling, cleaning and storing tents for parties and other events. Steven’s father took over the business in 2001, and Steven and Stacy began their tenure in 2013.

And suddenly, or so it seems, the company is being transformed. It’s not just joining FABA, although that has certainly helped Hendersonville Tents. Through the business networking group at FABA, Steven and Stacy met Ray Access, who wrote brand new website content for the company and continue to create monthly blog posts, keeping their online presence vibrant. DPEG Marketing also has helped them develop and implement a marketing plan for sustained growth.

Big Changes
In January 2014, the Bishops opened a brand new storefront for their business at 578 Upward Road #8 in Flat Rock. FABA was there with a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate its opening. Also new was the company’s inventory. Now they not only rent tents, tables and chairs, but china and linen, sound systems, dance floors, games and much more; they have become a one-stop party supply rental store.

And business has improved apace. Steven and Stacy sometimes struggle to keep up. Running a regional tent rental operation that sets up before and tears down after events is time-consuming enough. Add in all the extra equipment and supplies they rent out now, and it can become one giant headache without proper organization. And so they manage a team they can trust.

The Power of Networking
“You get out of it what you put in,” says Stacy, and she means it. Hendersonville Tents is a member of both FABA and the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce. As a result, they have lots of networking opportunities available to them every month. But they understand the value of participating in the organizations, and so they attend whenever they can. When asked which organization has helped their business more, Stacy hedged her bets. “They’re about equal,” she said.

Because of their networking, because of their marketing presence (online and at their store), because of their new offerings and because of the relationships they’ve built in the community, Hendersonville Tents continues to grow. “Business is good,” Stacy confirms. But like any small business, it takes long hours and some stress. Since the end of their busy season is the end of October, however, they can see a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light does not belong to an alarm clock.

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.

The Value of Volunteering

everyone's inThe Value of Volunteering

The adage that “what goes around, comes around,” is never more true when applied to the concept of philanthropy for businesses. When you give of your time, talent and treasures, you reap immeasurable rewards in anybody’s book — religious and secular alike.

Whether you write a check to your favorite charity, provide your talent to complete a task for a nonprofit organization or staff a booth at a fundraising event, you (and your company) will benefit. Every form of giving has its rewards, but the personal involvement required from volunteers brings with it its own set of special benefits.

The Whole Package
When you volunteer for a good cause, in reality, you are giving your treasures because time is money for every small business owner. Your talents are appreciated as you perform the task that you’ve offered to tackle. Volunteering truly involves the entire trio of charitable tithes.

And it’s personal. It’s about you and the people you touch. Volunteering puts you directly in front of the people you hope to help, the causes in which you believe and your fellow volunteers who share your values. Volunteering encompasses philanthropy to the fullest extent of the laws of giving and receiving.

Reap Your Just Rewards
While the recipients of your generosity surely benefit from your volunteering, you too can expect to be rewarded in a number of ways, and not always in the way you might expect. Common benefits of volunteering include:

  • Name recognition
  • Being associated with a good cause
  • Publicity
  • Exposure

At the same time, other more subtle benefits take place within your company and your customer base. These may include:

  • Increased sales
  • New clients
  • Improved morale
  • Unexpected opportunities for growth

The Laws at Work
Universal laws don’t always work in the way you might easily recognize. While you may expect to get business from your fellow volunteers following a big event, the new account may in actuality come from across the country from a completely unaffiliated source.

The law of “paying it forward” means that you don’t look for a direct response to your generosity from the source to which you gave. Instead, it means that you have set in motion the energy called “karma” by the Buddhists and your “just due” by Baptists. And you never know when or where or from whom your payback will come.

Gratitude Multiplied
And never mind all the tangible rewards. Volunteering just feels good. You get kudos from your friends and colleagues; you know that you are doing a good thing, which in turn helps you feel good about yourself. No matter what your motives for volunteering happen to be, the joy of giving will take hold of you and even may turn into an addiction.

If the volunteering bug has hit you and your team, look no further than your local business association. The Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) relies entirely on volunteers to make this wonderful group of business professionals work so well. And they reap what they sow on a regular basis, which is why they keep coming back for more.

In fact, FABA does its own giving back as an organization. The Snack Pack Program provides snacks to school kids at Fletcher Elementary School who otherwise would not have them. In 2014, FABA helped almost 200 kids a week. The individual businesses and business owners who donate to the Snack Pack Program are giving back to the community with no thought of any return. You can join us anytime.

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.

FABA Member Profile: Roy Dickerson

Roy Dickerson & familyFABA Member Profile: Roy Dickerson

The Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA) provides a platform that allows area business owners a chance to support each other. Active members take advantage of that opportunity. They come to every meeting. They modestly talk about their businesses. They come ready to help others — through personal introductions, business partnerships or valuable referrals.

Longtime FABA member Roy Dickerson has done just that. To promote his local business, Baabals Ice Cream & Coffee Shoppe, he joined FABA in 2012 and always seems to be at every FABA event. A longtime Fletcher resident, he also seems to know everyone, so he’s quick to point his fellow business owners in the right direction. He’s someone you should get to know if you haven’t yet met him.

An Active “Retirement”
It’s an understatement to suggest that Roy likes to stay busy. While he may be old enough to retire, he can’t see himself confined to a rocking chair just yet. In addition to his networking activities and running his small business, Roy also works part-time in outside group sales for Asheville’s Fun Depot. He used to be even more involved with the Fun Depot, but has stepped away some recently to spend time with his ice cream shop, the business he’s always wanted.

“It was a lifelong dream,” he says, to have a family-oriented, old-fashioned ice cream place. He was lucky enough to find a 106-year-old house with a large porch to accommodate music or just lounging. It fits Baabals’ perfectly. Roy opened the business in 2012 at 188 St. John Road, which sits just behind Foam & Fabrics Outlet off of Hendersonville Road in Fletcher. If you know where FABA members Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Brown Family Chiropractic Center are, Baabals is right across the street.

Knowing What’s Important
Roy will tell you that the secret to life (and business) is knowing what’s important. To Roy, despite all of his responsibilities, family is what matters most. In fact, you may not be aware that the Baabals name uses the initial letter from each of his children and grandchildren (Bo, Ashley, Anna, Brayden, Alayna, Leyton and Susie).

He’s working hard to put Baabals on the Fletcher area map. That’s one of the many reasons he chose to join FABA. And he credits the association for helping him get the word out about his business. In addition to regularly attending its meetings, he sometimes supplies ice cream at some Focus After Five events. He also hears monthly kudos from other FABA members about the quality of the food and desserts Baabals serves. It’s because quality also matters to Roy.

What’s Next for Roy
Baabals employs his family members, which is important to Roy, as he seeks to pass on his passion to his children. Learning the business from the ground up will help guide the ice cream shop into the future. He’s working hard now so that his family can take it over when he’s too old to scoop ice cream — which, knowing Roy’s level of energy and commitment, likely won’t be for many years to come.

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.

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.


Give and You Shall Receive

snack packMembership has its privileges, but it also carries some responsibility. Occasionally, privilege and responsibility can merge into opportunity. This is the case when you join the Fletcher Area Business Association (FABA).

One of the finer gifts you receive from your FABA membership is the opportunity to give back to the community. Successful business people know how important it is to give back in order to achieve personal and professional success. According to motivational speaker Zig Ziglar:

“You can have everything in life you want,
if you will just help other people get what they want.”

The Fletcher community supports our businesses by purchasing our goods and services. So it’s our duty as small business owners to support each other and our community. In the past few years, FABA leadership has accepted that responsibility and turned it into an opportunity for local businesses. Through the Snack Pack Program, we combine our resources to give to children in need.

Our Kids Need Us

The FABA Snack Pack Program is a fundraising vehicle to help elementary school students get daily snacks. We know the need exists, as approximately 50 percent of the students at Fletcher Elementary School qualify for the Free or Reduced Lunch program. That’s nearly 200 kids. The Snack Pack donations allow all children to get the nourishment that need to keep learning, not just the kids who bring snacks from home.

In 2014, FABA assisted an average 181 children per week, and we’re looking to increase our efforts in 2015. Our goal is to provide snacks for deserving kids involved in the weekend backpack program through the school. While we don’t see the children in person, Principal Jennifer Shelton and school counselor Susan Garren have been effusive about the impact this has on the lives of scores of children.

How It Works

At every FABA event, from the Coffee Club to Focus After Five, we put out a display and box to collect donations. Many of our members, including United Federal Credit Union, Universal Healthcare, Dr. Brown Chiropractic, and Mission Pardee Health Campus, maintain a permanent display to collect donations at their respective offices. One of our goals is to expand that network to include more offices and industries in the area.

We collect both snack and monetary donations. Some of the most popular snacks requested include:

  • Goldfish
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese crackers
  • Graham crackers
  • Raisins
  • Cereal bars

All snacks must come in individual packages and be non-perishable. Checks can be made out to FABA with Snack Pack in the “for” line. If you have additional questions about the FABA Snack Pack Program, call Fundraising Chair Ben Kish at 828-694-1751. The community, the school and FABA thank you.

“In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”
—Erich Fromm

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.