On Thursday, May 5th, I had the privilege of being a featured speaker at Walker’s Legacy Day, an event commemorating National Small Business Week (May 2-7).

Walker’s Legacy is a global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business. The organization is named in honor of legendary African-American female entrepreneur and first woman self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker.

Madam C.J. Walker was a phenomenal woman who transcended the boundaries ascribed to her as the daughter of former slaves. She soared to the heights of developing the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company of women’s hair products and wielded her wealth and influence as a philanthropist and activist.

Aside from the great honor of celebrating such an inspirational woman, I also had the delight of being a co-presenter with my #sisterpreneur, event planning/marketing maven, Kristin Parnell of Festive Flair Events. We had a rockin’ group of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, and were hosted at the beautiful and welcoming Anointed Feet Dance School, owned by another awesome woman of color entrepreneur, Kanisha Bennett. We were pleased with the energy and enthusiasm of the attendees, which included Pamela Bizzell, co-owner of Amara Coffee & Tea who beamed “A wonderful event! It was fun, informative, and I got great takeaways!”

Thank you to Walker’s Legacy for your inspired vision to create this global network and extending the opportunity to celebrate and encourage dynamic women of color entrepreneurs! Thank you to our host, Kanisha Bennett! Click here to check out more sights and sounds from the event!

Read on for a recap of some of the main tips shared! Enjoy and apply to your business strategy to more effectively build relationships in your business and beyond.

Networking & Your Unique Selling Proposition presented by Kristin Parnell, Festive Flair Events

  • The 1st Rule of selling is that people buy from people they know, like and trust
  • Being successful  in business is about building relationships and the best way to do that is by Networking, Networking, Networking
  • Networking is not just about who you know but who knows YOU!!
  • When networking you want to connect with key people who you want to be a part of your “FAB 5” – to build your tribe
    1. Potential customers
    2. Mentors
    3. Fellow travelers – peers that can be a source of support)
    4. Mentees – individuals who are still learning who you can support and pay your knowledge forward
    5. Cheerleaders – People who can encourage and inspire you on the inevitable days when you have hardships or face self-doubt
  • When meeting people, make sure you present your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) — value add, succinct message and what sets you apart

Beyond the Mixer: Building Relationships Daily by yours truly!

  • What networking isn’t: Boring folks to tears by talking about yourself for 20 minutes; distributing your business cards randomly without speaking to people directly
  • Demystifying networking: Not only awkward situations at mixers. Some examples of “networking” that are second nature is sharing information on who styled your hair or sending a friend a resource website on quality preschools or family caregivers
  • What networking is: Good conversations with good people before anyone has a need for anything (Laura Vanderkam) OR building relationships and offering resources to people without the expectation of an immediate personal or professional benefit
  • Tips for effectively building relationships after an event
    • Adopt the mindset that the centerpiece of networking is generosity and reciprocity
    • Identify who you would like to add to your ‘Fab Five’ (see above)
    • Regularly share information, resources and connections to those individuals; offer assistance before asking for assistance
    • Be known as the go-to person on a certain topic or field, so that people within your network view you as a reliable and valuable source of specific information
    • Be systematic and consistent with follow-up:
      • Keep track of connections using a spreadsheet or email marketing program
      • Cross-pollinate by aiming to have people in your network who reflect the diversity of industry, profession, age, ability and other demographics