Grow your landscape career through networking Email
Tuesday, August 09, 2016 08:00 AM

Business cardsInteracting with peers is a great tool for learning. Talking with colleagues can teach you a lot about the industry and about how to grow your business, making networking an important part of being a professional.

While networking may sound like an awkward, unpleasant experience, it need not be. Find a connection between you and the folks at the event. In addition to the common ground of the landscape industry, you can find a networking activity that fits your personality. Whether it’s a happy hour, volunteer project or an organizational committee, having a purpose to the networking event can give you an opening line to start a conversation with a colleague.

Wendy Booth (Ivy Street Design) recalls her initial involvement with ALCC membership and networking. She was trying to start her company (and expecting her second child) when someone suggested she get involved with ALCC. At her first task force meeting, she joined a discussion and immediately felt welcome.

“When Stan Brown (Alameda Wholesale Nursery), an important leader in the Colorado landscape industry, turned to me during the discussion and asked, ‘Well, Wendy—what do you think?’ I was struck by how inclusive this group was. It was one of the most friendly and open professional organizations I’ve encountered,” Booth said.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem embarrassing. It might be intimidating to approach an experienced professional for what seems like elementary advice, but anyone who attends a networking event expects to be asked to share their knowledge and advice.

Industry veteran Jeff Roth also explained that networking with peers was “so beneficial” to his growth as a professional. He built relationships with peers and competitors that helped guide him through his career.

“I got to know my competition very well, and they got to know me very well,” said Roth of his experiences with ALCC. A majority of those he encountered “were more than willing to give you a resource” and to share their knowledge. He was pleasantly surprised by the incredible amount of information that peers were willing to share; one member even taught him how to bid on jobs.

If you make a connection at a networking event, be sure to follow up. Thank the person with whom you spoke. Remember to reciprocate and give something in return for the other pro’s kindness. You don’t have to invite them to your home for dinner right away. Simply send an email or share some information/resources related to whatever you discussed at the event. It’s part of building relationships that will help you and your business grow.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Leadership education grows better landscape companies
Colorado Employment Verification Law repealed
Safety saves money at Swingle
Annual Houzz & Home Report released