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sr_541cf46ecdecfbThe new generations are constantly creating new exciting ways to build relationships, build their businesses and enjoy their lives.  And now they are working together too.

Coworking is one way to do this, and is becoming popular around the country (…see, I told ya).  It’s pretty cool: it builds relationships with people you can trust, enhances accountability so you’ll actually do your work, and provides a bunch of people you can turn to for immediate help on your stuff (because they sit right beside you).

And did you know that Greenville, SC is coworking now?  And you better get in on the ground floor or all of the spaces will be taken up.

They are having their second introductory meeting to explain all of this weirdness, and here are the details:

Where: Spill the Beans Coffee Shop, downtown Greenville

(610 S. Main St., Greenville, SC  29601)

Date: June 5, 2009

Time: 6:00 pm

Our firm is giving away a free 1 hour financial/business consultation to a lucky participant that brings a friend (so I guess we’re kind of helping to sponsor the event).  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

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When my family and I moved to Greenville in May of 2003, I took such a big salary cut that I eventually got a paper route in a high end neighborhood to make ends meet (after my daughter broke her arm and ran up a bunch of bills).

What a rough time that was… personally and for our business.  I was departing on a journey to build a business and didn’t know if I could do it and what it would take.  There wasn’t enough income to pay me a salary so my dad said you can come but you’ll have to go earn your salary.  What a scary situation to be in… but what a motivation!  I had a wife and some little kids so this move had to work.  God was going to have to do His work to meet our needs.

I remember calling the Greenville Magazine one day and tried to get my name in the back of the magazine to announce that I had come to work with my dad.  I had a little trouble because I wasn’t an advertiser, and they mentioned that they would fit me in if they could.  When it finally came out, I quickly checked the back of the magazine to see if my goofball picture and announcement had been listed.  I finally made it after a month or two… and I’m sure you never saw the announcement.  Big freakin’ whoop.

So my journey to build my business had started, with a lot fear driving me to put groceries on the table.  I began calling people I had some slight introduction to, sent letters to introduce myself and took many people to lunch.  I gave tax seminars, fed free information to our clients and gave my time to people I wanted to serve.

Now, I’ve made it to the cover of the magazine, and developing real relationships has been the reason.  I’ve learned so much in the almost 6 years it took me to go from the back to the front of the Greenville Magazine.  And we intend to grow in major ways in the very near future, and our pledge is to serve you as our clients, build real solid relationships with you, and commit our time and resources to serve you better each year.  I believe we can still do this even if we grow… I’m asking you to keep us in check.

Thank you Greenville for letting us serve you – we are in awe that we get to serve some of the best clients in the South.  You are truly the bomb, and I love you.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

Our firm is on a hunt to tip over the ho-hum of our industry.  It’s time.  There comes a time when we must question our business models and try something new.  It’s time for the CPA industry to do some resurfacing.

Our firm is unlike many current CPA firms in our dive into social media.  We want to try it, deliver information to our clients by it, and exploit it to the fullest use, for the benefit of our staff and clients.  And as we do, we keep getting reminded of it’s ULTIMATE use – to build real relationships.  After all, that’s how we built this firm in the first place.  One relationship at a time.

Even at the most recent inaugural meeting of the Social Media Club of Greenville, with it’s unprecedented attendance and growth, we were reminded by Geno Church of Brains on Fire of just exactly what the “killer app” is – it’s YOU.  You are the greatest thing about your business.

You build the twitter around your brand, you personally enforce the trust folks found in you through Facebook, and when you answered questions on LinkedIn, you are the one who will back it up with a deliverable service or product to that new client in Tennessee.  You are the killer app.  And the relationships you build will build your company.

So set up your online world.  But do it in a way that ends up with you across the table paying for lunch for your new found client!  And then do it again… and again… and again.

networking.jpg   Is networking valuable?  You bet.  But there are ways to get more out of it than taking the traditional networking road…

As the Manageing Shareholder of a CPA consulting practice, I need a lot of expert advice on how to run the practice, let alone do the consulting.  One way to do this has been to play to my weaknesses.  That’s right… be vulnerable.  Networking is mostly about putting on a facade and asking for business.  Instead, I’ve been open to ask my superiors (in age and in experience) how to do certain things.  What rates do you charge?  How do you justify the value in that rate?  What course of action should I take over the next 5 years?  Or I just ask about a specific tax consulting issue, and let them give me the answer.

Take your contacts to lunch with a real concern about a part of your business that you are having trouble managing.  Ask them how they do it, why and what does and doesn’t work for them.  Strategically play to your weaknesses.

Playing to your weaknesses does three things within seconds:

1. Shows them you are not totally concerned with what you want to say.  You are there to listen – a huge skill that leads to trust (and REFERRALS!!).  And then, believe me, they start talking.

2. Makes them the “expert” in your eyes.  They are apt to offer guidance when they think you think they are the superior.

3. Shows vulnerability on your side and breaks down barriers of competitiveness between the two parties.

I started networking in college.  When outside speakers would come in to speak to our accounting classes, they would always offer to help us anyway they could.  I would always call them and ask them how to get a job or what a perspective employer will be looking for.  I asked them if they actually liked accounting.  I showed my vulnerabilities, and they responded (now, one of those contacts I took to lunch in college consistently refers me big consulting jobs!).

This is a new type of networking, but one that has consistently developed trust in the contacts I network with.  And that trust eventually leads to referrals.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

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