Benefits and Drawbacks of Business Networking

Business networking has a world of positive benefits. However, with everything positive, comes a few negatives at least. So, without further ado, let’s begin with the positive/pros in support of business networking:

The first point on the up side is;

You’re being active in the accumulation of business contacts and letting yourself be seen. Many people complain that they are just not meeting enough of the right people to help in their career direction.

When you are actively involved in business networking, you are increasing your chances of meeting those right people. Furthermore, if you are networking correctly by sharing referrals, introducing people, and following up with those you meet, the rewards will speak for themselves.

The 2nd positive point is;

Your 1 on 1 people skills will slowly develop into expert status. This is a benefit not talked about a lot but through trial and error, building great relationships will seem effortless. Consider the fact that when your 1 on 1 people skills are adequate, you will see a phenomenal increase in the positive results you get using all other communication, for example; telephone, e-mail, etc.

3rd, on the optimistic side is;

After being consistent, you will notice your own center of influence expand. If you are engaged actively in meeting, communicating, and generally helping many individuals, you will be liked as well as respected. When these type of things occur, your center of influence grows and you will become well-respected by default.

4, on the high side is;

Networking regularly gives you the opportunity to speak a lot about your profession. You will have the opportunity to educate many people about what you do when you meet them. This situation causes you to be on your toes and more knowledgeable about your profession.

The 5th benefit of business networking is;

You are greatly increasing your overall options. While networking for better business returns, you will meet an abundance of individuals who aren’t directly connected to your goals. Meeting individuals like this can benefit you in other ways like; finding a good plumber, helping you to get hired at a new company, and any other specialist in a particular field. A personal referral usually holds more merit.

And now for the alternatives or the down-side/cons of business networking:

#1. If you are an extreme example of a socially inhibited individual, getting out and networking could be very traumatic for you. I’m not saying that it’s something you can’t overcome but it could very well turn out to be a not so positive experience.

#2. You may find several events that may not be to your liking. This is an occupational hazard of business networking in which you attend business networking events with high expectations but are disappointed by the outcome. As with anything, this is not justification to give up but it does happen.

#3. People in your newly found network been as receptive as you would like. It is very true that many people talk a good game but in the heat of the moment, when you need them most, they can let you down.

#4. An unruly, undesirable individual may enter your life through networking. I know that this is an aspect that’s not discussed too frequently but I must be honest. Sometimes you can attract individuals through your friendly networking activities, which could prove energy draining if not detrimental to your career.

And #5. Networking doesn’t work for everybody. Yes, there are some individuals out there, as rare as they may be, where networking and building relationships with different people just isn’t their cup of tea. A small minority of people will find that no matter how hard they try, it just won’t deliver the desired results. This is sad but it is true.

So now you see the pros and cons on both ends. Personally I believe that business networking is very important and can work for most people in a positive way. Now, you have to ask yourself, “Is it bad or good?” The answer is “Good” and “Bad”. It all depends on the perspective of “you”, the reader.

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What Does a Concierge Do in a Hotel?

Have you every looked at the facilities and services offered by a luxurious five-star hotel and seen concierge service and wondered why this is so important or what a concierge actually does in a hotel? Having a concierge service can be beneficial and help you have a more relaxed, enjoyable and memorable stay.

A concierge works at a hotel deck where they provide clients with a range of services to help them have the best experience when visiting their location. This is very different from reception as they do not handle any administrative tasks within the hotel, so you cannot go to the concierge to book you in, but they will be able to provide you advice and assistance on the check in process and where to go to get booked in and taken to your room.

You will find that a concierge will have extensive area knowledge and be able to provide you with useful services, such as arranging a car hire for you on your chosen dates. You may be in a strange city and caught a taxi to your hotel and now you want to explore at your own pace without relying on someone else. They will be able to secure you the best deals so you are guaranteed to pay the best prices for hiring a car for the period that you need them for.

Another service provided by these hotel staff members is to arrange tours and book clients on tours. If you want to explore the area, see all the sights and enjoy a cost defective experience, then the concierge service will be able to assist you. You can discuss your tour requirements and expectations with the concierge and they will be able to make recommendations and point you in the right direction so you get the best experience.

A concierge will also book your spa treatments for you. Whether they have an on-site spa or they have access to a nearby spa. They will ensure you get the treatments you want whether it’s a relaxing massage or a cleansing facial. They will be able to provide you with information on pricing and more so you can make the right decision based on your particular needs.

Whether you want to dine in the hotel restaurant or you want to find a celebrity restaurant nearby, the concierge will not only be able to make recommendations but they will make your reservation for you, saving you time and energy in the long run and ensuring that you don’t have to run around making reservations when you are on holiday.

Depending on where you are staying, there may be shows, operas, ballets on that you want to see. If you want to see one of these shows, the concierge will be able to advise what is on and book your tickets to ensure you get the see the production you don’t want to miss.

A concierge is there to recommend and direct you. They are a wealth of information and they can help you with anything from finding the nearest train station to helping you find your way to the top sights and attractions. They will book your taxi, car hire service or make your restaurant reservations. These individuals are customer orientated and will go out of their way to ensure that all guests have the best stay when staying in their hotel.

Do You Know Your Objectives in Networking?

Networking is Much More Than Socializing

Casual networkers view networking as a form of socializing without focus and without goals. Effective networkers view it as a process of relationship building with very clear goals and objectives.

Business networking, like any other business activity, must be a productive use of time. To maximize your networking effectiveness, you should therefore clearly define your goals and objectives.

Following are some of the most common objectives for business networkers:

Broaden your exposure in the marketplace and create a positive impression on as many people in your business community as possible.

Identify those who might be prospects for your products or services

Build relationships with those who offer products or services that might be of value to you or your clients.

Build relationships with those who might become referral or strategic partners.

Build relationships with those who are influential in your business community.

Build relationships with those who can further your career.

Build relationships with those who might provide business counsel or become advisors or mentors.

Those with whom you network are experts in their fields. They can answer questions about their area of specialization, share their business experience and knowledge, and may in some instances become mentors. No one can know all there is to know about business and the advice of others can at times be extremely valuable. Networking at trade association expos and conferences will allow you to meet executives from other companies who might some day be your employer or be able to recommend you for an opening they have heard about. Earning the respect of those in your local community can lead to offers when positions become available. We have all heard the idiom: “It is not what you know, it is who you know that counts.” Building relationships with the most influential members of your business community is a key to your success.

Referral partners are individuals who are able and willing to send you referrals in exchange for your help sending referrals to them. To find them at a networking event, you must have carefully thought through who the best referral partners for you might be. You must also have a strategy for turning a casual meeting into an opportunity to develop the relationship. As a business person you and the firm for which you work have needs for a wide variety of products and services. Networking is an effective way of meeting those who provide these products and services in your local community. Your customers also need a variety of products or services for business and personal use. If you can direct them to reputable providers of those services, you will be more valued as a resource and their loyalty will be enhanced. Keeping your client’s needs in mind as you meet others at networking events, should be a habit you develop.

Most view this as the primary objective of networking. To identify prospects and create sales opportunities, you must be prepared to describe your business and its benefits clearly and succinctly. You must also be ready to qualify “suspects” and, if necessary, present your Unique Selling Proposition. The goal of an initial networking contact is not to close a deal, it is to create a follow up opportunity. Networking is an extremely effective way of creating awareness in your business community. For many start up companies, it is the only form of marketing that can be afforded. Fortunately, networking can also be the most effective form of marketing available.

Most business professionals view networking as a means of marketing their business, but overlook some of the other objectives that may be equally or even more important. Too much emphasis on selling at networking events can leave a negative impression. If you want to make a positive impression, make sure the discussion centers on them, not you.

What goals and objectives have you set for your networking activities? Which are most important? How will you measure your success? Like any other business activity, you must approach your networking with goals and a plan to achieve them.

Indoor Furniture, Outdoor Furniture – What’s the Difference?

In the world of furniture manufacturing, there are companies that specialize in indoor furniture, outdoor furniture and between the two there is a limited amount of crossover. Outdoor furniture is built differently than the indoor variety, and while you can always use outdoor furniture inside, the opposite is not always the case. If you are debating moving some furniture for outside for a party or a much longer period of time, know what should and shouldn’t be used, and what can be made over to better handle the elements.

Be a material girl:

You don’t have to be Madonna to figure out that some materials are better suited for the outdoors than others, depending on type of furniture. Outdoor materials need to be sturdy enough to withstand variant temperatures, a certain amount of moisture from rain, dew, etc. and humidity.

Common sense dictates that there are certain materials that should never be taken outside, unless you’re absolutely sure that the weather will be perfect. For instance, carpeting is a disaster when it gets wet. It takes forever to dry, and can mold, and it also gets really stiff when it’s cold. That’s why rugs not meant for the outside should stay inside. Likewise, materials like suede, fleece, and dry-only materials should also not be taken outside. Companies manufacture cushion and deep seating fabrics that mimic the feel of more luxurious materials, but are fully waterproof.

Then there are certain pieces that can go outdoors for limited periods of time before you have to worry. Wicker, for instance, though technically considered patio furniture, is not that strong and holds up much better in sunrooms and away from prolonged exposure to sun and rain. Then there are things like thin pottery, ceramic and plastic pieces that are waterproof but not suitable as furniture, outdoor or in. They aren’t strong enough to withstand extreme temperature changes or strong, inclement weather. Untreated metal is also okay to get wet for short periods, but for much longer than that and you risk it rusting.

Then there are those materials intended for use as outdoor furniture. Outdoor materials are especially hearty but still look visually pleasing. Examples of tables, chairs, planters, and more can be seen made out of the following: treated wood and hardwoods, galvanized metal, powder-coated metal (aluminum, wrought iron, zinc hardware), stone and cement (as tables, benches and umbrella stands), marbles, clay and reinforced ceramics (as planter pots), poly resin plastics and waterproof nylon (used in canopies and as cushion covers).

This list only begins to scratch the surface of the multitude of materials that make up our lives. In all, use your best judgment about whether something can go outdoors. Take into account weather patterns. If it’s really nice out, you can be more lenient about what you take outside as furniture. Outdoor conditions can change rapidly, though, so keep an eye out.

Treating Wood

The best thing you can repurpose for use as indoor furniture/outdoor furniture is wood. It’s no more difficult than adding some varnish and it might save you from unnecessarily buying all new furniture. To begin with, take a look at the wood you’re working with. Stay away from old wood that’s in bad condition, as it will deteriorate at an even more rapid pace once taken outside. Next, check what species of wood you have. Some of the naturally stronger woods, like teak, pine, cedar and cypress, are great for the outside. These woods are already strong and durable on their own and require little extra protection. More delicate woods will require extra sealant and even then they probably won’t last as long outside as hardwoods.

To begin the weatherproofing process, you will need to cover wood with a fade-proof, UV-resistant finish. Sand away any lacquer that may already exist on your furniture. Whatever finish is on there is most likely intended for inside, and while it will give furniture a high gloss shine, it’s not the right kind of varnish that will protect it from moisture and the outdoor elements. After the surface is smooth, even and clean you can apply a sealant, usually an oil-based varnish, unless you’re working with a wood that produces its own oils, like teak and cedar furniture. Outdoor atmospheric elements will dry out wood more quickly than furniture that’s kept indoors, so it’s important to protect the surface and heartwood against cracking, rotting and warping. Once that’s complete, you’re good to go. From then on, simply oil and clean your wood furniture once to twice a year to keep it healthy.