BY KENNETH C. BATOR
Have you had this type of experience before? You’re at a networking function. Maybe it’s a league convention. Maybe it’s a chamber of commerce meeting. Heck, maybe it’s a Save-the-Meerkat charity function. Whatever the event may be you wind up in an actual interesting and enjoyable conversation with a professional you just met.
You talk for about 15 minutes or so. You think this is someone you would like to network with again. If it is a vendor or possible supplier you think I may need the services this guy or gal offers. I should get a business card. You ask for one. You take a look at it and the email address is email@example.com.
I’m not sure what your reaction might be but mine is always the same. I get a Jerry Seinfeld like voice in my head that says something like “Really? Are you just trying this business thing out for size for a while? Is this kinda like a test drive? You’re not really serious about this business are you?”
In these situations I usually ask, “How long have you been in business?” The response many times is something like, “A few years.” So in “a few years” you didn’t feel strongly enough about the operation to plunk down a few bucks to get a website and email-account package so you could brand yourself as Donnie.firstname.lastname@example.org?
I do a fair amount of networking and the scenario described above happens way too often. Fortunately it happens much less during credit union events than small business functions. However, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times over the last 15 years I have seen a email@example.com or something to that effect. And, no, I haven’t had any amputations.