How putting purposeful networking into practice can expand your business.

By Harold Taylor

At the Sussex and District Chamber of Commerce’s February membership meeting, the discussion focused on putting purposeful networking into practice and business networking – in other words the process of establishing mutually beneficial relationships with other business people.

The importance of planned, purposeful networking that would help expand your business or further your career was emphasized. One example offered was a statistic that 70% of all jobs are not found from answering want ads or sending out resumes, but by networking.

The guest speaker at that meeting, Dan Coles, a Community Economic Development Executive with Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB), explained a simple but formalized networking process that helps local businesses and organizations connect with immigrants, newcomers, international students and recent local graduates who are interested in starting and growing their careers in the Sussex – Hampton area.

In this program, local business people, young professionals, and community leaders are invited to sign up as “Connectors,” and newcomers, immigrants and recent graduates are invited to sign up as “Connectees.” Connectors are then matched with Connectees who have similar professional interests.

Connectors are asked to meet Connectees for at least 30 minutes and to provide them with three referrals from within their own network. Those referrals are encouraged to provide another three referrals, and so on. This helps Connectees build a professional network quickly.

The benefits for those wanting to become established in the area include orientation to their surroundings, referrals, a networking base, a sense of belonging, and assistance in getting suitable employment.

There are benefits to those serving as Connectors as well. In addition to a sense of achievement and helping to keep talent in New Brunswick, they expand their own network of talents in the area, contribute to greater community engagement, and experience the many advantages of volunteerism.

There is a positive link between volunteering and happiness, and another link between happiness and health and longevity. Dr. Lisa Rankin and her 2013 book, Mind over Medicine, says that unhappy people are less likely to eat well, exercise, and enjoy healthy sleep patterns, but insists there is more to it than that. Scientists have tracked 2025 people aged 55 and older for five years and found that those who volunteered for two or more organizations were 63% less likely to die during the study than those who didn’t volunteer. That was reduced to 26% when they only volunteered for one organization.

New Brunswick is a great place to live. The cost of living is low, the quality of life is healthy, the people are friendly, and the scenery is simply majestic. But people need suitable work in order to stay here. And according to Statistics Canada, between 2007 and 2017, about 16,500 people between the ages of 16 and 25 left New Brunswick for other parts of the country.

The ONB “Connects” program is one way to formalize networking for the benefit of all. It’s people helping people. And being a newcomer myself, having lived here for just over two years, I can say, at least for the Sussex area, that our greatest strength is our people.

If you would like to participate, either as a Connector or as a Connectee, you can email Dan Coles at Dan.Coles@ONBCanada.ca or call 506-434-4962. And if you would like a copy of the “Power of Business Networking” notes (which were distributed at the Chamber meeting), direct an email to harold@taylorintime.com. You can also contact the Chamber on our website here.

Together we are better.

Harold L Taylor, owner of Taylorintime.com, is a member of the Sussex & District Chamber of Commerce and a columnist with the Kings County Record, tj.news/kingscountyrecord.

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