portrait of a scared young caucasian woman with green turtleneckIt was a dark and stormy night. And a lone business owner walks back to their car from yet another networking event.

The wind whistled around the car park as the cackles and laughter back in the bar could still be heard. She clicked her car key.

“What a night!” she heard herself say out loud. “Did I really drive over to this place to listen to that grey suit gas on about why they were so great at what they did?”

She flung the car door open and sat down heavily in the driver’s seat.

She would have loved to take her shoes off because her feet were killing her, but it wasn’t the weather to be having a spare pair of flip flops in the car. And driving home bare foot didn’t really appeal to her.

She suddenly felt really down. She had been at this networking malarkey for months now. Turning up at lunches, coffee shops and those god awful breakfast sessions that only offered deep fried sausages and greasy eggs.

She had really and truly thought that getting out and meeting people would open up doors for her. That turning up at places where other business people, just like her, would start getting her leads and potential new clients.

How wrong she was. All she had to show for it was a huge pile of business cards that had been thrust at her at every event and a slightly tighter waistband from those heavy breakfasts.

Suddenly there was a bang.

She jumped out of her skin. The noise against her car window shook her out of her trance and her heart began beating furiously.

She hadn’t noticed the figure creep up on the car, who was now peering through the window.

“Jeepers”, she thought. “It’s that bloody grey suit again.”

He made a gesture to indicate he wanted her to wind down her window.

Automatically she put her finger on the window button and it slid down until she stopped it half way. For some reason, a voice told her not to keep her finger on the button.

“You forgot this”, grey suit said cheerily. He held out a business card. His business card.

“I saw that you left it on the table just before you left and I was just about to leave myself, I thought I would bring it out to you. Sorry … didn’t mean to startle you.”

“No. No, you didn’t. Startle me, I mean.”

She took the offered business card. What else could she do.

She grimaced and mumbled a thank you as she pulled up her window again, quickly turning the ignition key before reversing out of her parking space at a speed that hopefully didn’t appear too rude.

It was that moment that she became afraid. Really afraid.

Had her marketing come to this? Driving from one networking event to another collecting business cards from grey suits? Was this the only way to get clients?

For too many business owners, just like you, this horror story is a reality.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Happy Hollowe’en!

What advice would you give this business owner who was at the end of her tether? Is networking something to focus on? Or are there easier ways to get business?

I would love to know what you think. Leave a comment below and share your ideas and thoughts.

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