It’s the most wonderful time of the year… 🚀 for building a business network. This week, let’s talk about how to make the most of networking opportunities at business parties and chamber events.

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” – Keith Ferrazzi

Building a business network is one of the most important things you can do to enrich your business and your life. When you set out to build a business network, the connections you make are meant to help you and your connection build a wealth of knowledge to share.

There’s no shortage of business networking events to attend, especially if you belong to the local chamber, Rotary, BNI or some other civic organization. The challenge is to come away with real meaningful connections in a shooting gallery of business cards.

To build credible business relationships, you need to get one-to-one.

One-to-ones are the foundation of building a business network with other business owners. But it’s about way more than just having coffee.

Here are 3 tips to turn that face-to-face meeting into an effective network-building session.

Invite and Accept

If you find yourself making more than idle smalltalk with someone, invite them coffee to learn more about each other. Set up the appointment then or call within a few days. And if they ask you, just say “yes!”

Give yourself a goal of asking other business owners you know about to coffee or a meeting at least once or twice a month. I shoot for at least one a week.

Share your background and GAINS before the meeting.

Send a quick email giving your background and what you do. Then share your GAINS. This stands for Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Network, and Skills. Sharing this information beforehand means you can spend your network-building meeting discussing and sharing strategies.

By the way, you also might want to add this to your LinkedIn profile to make it even more accessible.

Be strategic in your conversation.

If you spend all your time talking about the weather, you’ve wasted an hour (and $5 on a latte).

Be intentional about getting to know your new friend and look for ways to refer business to them. The goal of this conversation is sharing insights, strategies, goals, and solutions.

Notice, I didn’t end that with “milk your new connection for referral opportunities” or “try to sell them on your services.” That’s not what this is about.

It’s about building a business network with meaningful and mutually beneficial connections.


Start building your business network by asking one to two business owners to connect for coffee. If someone asks you to meet, just say “yes!”

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Let’s grab coffee soon,

Drew Horine
Drew Horine, Founder & Chief Creative