When it comes to social events, our small town is like a scene from the #realhousewives and while I’m the biggest fan of dramatic television, as a busy business owner, it’s important to know when the 4 hour lunch dates and nightly mixers are starting to affect your business. More importantly, how & when to politely decline! Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before replying Yes! to an event invitation:
How highly do I value my relationships with this person or this cause?
#1, It’s always people over business. For us, the relationships and connections we’ve built through our peers are a top priority. Many times, we will say reply yes because we purely want to show support for someone we care about. Same goes for charity events, if it’s a cause we are passionate about, we will do everything we can to be there.
Does this meeting/ social event fit in with my current business goals?
It all comes down to timing. Maybe right now you’re working on developing stronger connections in your local community. It might not make sense to attend a regional / national event right now. If you want to get more connected with other wedding professionals, attend specific industry events instead of maybe a general chamber of commerce meeting. This way you are more likely to make the connections you’re looking for.
How likely am I to generate a new client from this event?
At the end of the day, we are all running a business.
What is the opportunity cost of attending this event?
Will I miss out on dinner with my family? Putting my kids to bed? Skipping the gym for the third night in a row? Deadlines that have piled up? Think about all the other things you should or could be doing instead and how that measures up.
Do I have an outfit?
When I jotted this down, originally I just thought it would be a bit of comic relief, but in all reality, when I’m not looking & feeling my best, my confidence is awfully lousy. If you can’t put a little pep in your step, attending a networking event might be more harmful than helpful.
If after considering all these questions, you’re still feeling amped to fill your calendar, I recommend putting together a strict schedule and sticking to it. We try to limit ourselves to one day per week of in-person meetings (so I only have to get dressed once!) Then one night per week for an event, fundraiser, client dinner, or just a date night. Since we also shoot weddings, it was important to us to limit the amount of time we were away from our kiddos!