By TORIE ROTH
The Canadian Networker held its first event in Kitchener-Waterloo at Conestoga Place on Jan. 25 at 110 Manitou Dr. in Kitchener.
The Ultimate Networking event has been running for more than three years in other cities, allowing small businesses to showcase their products and services.
“You pay a small fee for your table, which gives you the privilege to advertise your company free of charge for three months on TCNW.ca,” said Janet Benedict, executive leader at The Canadian Networker.
Apart from meeting other individuals with small businesses, you have the opportunity to listen and take advice from guest speakers, such as Sandy Wallace, a brand architect.
“I’m talking about branding. In a nutshell, how differentiating your company is paramount to good business because it makes you stand out.
“Whether you’re a plumber or a heart surgeon, branding is all part of it,” he said. “I will also be speaking about perception being more important than reality and the idea that how you are perceived in the marketplace is more important than how you actually are.”
Wallace hosted 30-second infomercials at the event, which gave attendees 30 seconds to announce who they are and what their company does.
Small business owners who attend don’t always go in with the sole purpose of selling their products; some do it for other social reasons.
“I try to come to as many of these events as possible,” said Karen Nogiec, a Visalus independent distributor. Visalus is a company that sells protein milkshakes and vitamin supplements.
“Even if I don’t sell anything, I always meet wonderful people and you never know when you’ll need a contact if you ever decide to take a different path.”
Ultimate Networking is also a learning experience for many businesses that are just taking off.
The Canadian Networker is an online resource centre for entrepreneurs to connect and share experiences, according to the website; it is a place for sales, purchases and alliances.
“I’m still figuring out everything I don’t know about networking so, these events really help to answer the questions I have,” said Patti Arbon, founder of pinkcanada.ca, a website that promotes small businesses owned by women.
There will be four more networking events held this year although dates have not yet been decided upon. For more information, visit www.TCNW.ca and click on Kitchener-Waterloo.