Got a Job by Chance: Small Business Networking Success Stories

Keep your eyes open for opportunities anytime, anywhere.

This week a young friend of mine called to chat. This man runs a machine shop in a nearby town and what he told me exemplifies the need for small business people to keep in touch with everyone.

Do not operate in a vacuum, which is easy to do when you are trying to get and keep a business going, take care of the books, make deliveries and work with employees. Here is the story.

My friend has been in business almost six years. His machine shop has survived while many others have failed, most likely due to his persistence in keeping in contact with people who can get him work and the fine work he produces in his shop.

The shop is equipped with two very expensive machines that must be kept operating to keep making money. He employs one full-time employee and is always looking for new work. He has paid off both of his machines and though pocket poor, his business is now profitable…if he can keep getting work.

He called to tell me that a sales person called him to try to sell something. In the course of the discussion this salesperson mentioned that he knew of someone about 10 miles away with a similar shop who was in need of help. He gave my friend the phone number of the shop and my friend decided to call and check it out.

Turns out the owner of the shop had nine big, expensive machines in his shop and not one of them was working due to the death of a key person in his shop.

The owner had employed a nephew whom he was grooming to take over the shop. The nephew knew the machines very well but the owner had stepped back and looked after other interests and knew nothing about the new machines.

Then tragedy struck. The nephew, at age 39, had a massive heart attack and died.

After all was said and done the owner had nine machines idled and many jobs unfilled. Trying to find help is nearly impossible on short notice in this very corporate area of Connecticut.

When my friend visited this other shop he spent several hours helping the owner figure out what to do. The owner immediately gave my friend five jobs that needed to get done right away and they will now work together to try to get the idle shop up and running and collaborate on getting the work on hand done.

There are many lessons in this story, but the one I chose to discuss is that when you are in business you must keep in contact with everyone. You really never know when a seemingly innocent phone call or meeting will generate business for your company.

I have seen people for moments in airports, had brief conversations and turned those chance meetings into contracts for my company.

Keep your eyes, ears and mind open at all times!

Article © Copyright 2002 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.

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