By Lisa Schardt, Nexstar Network® Business Enhancement Coach

Are you working your “net”? Unfortunately, I am not talking about fishing I am talking about the more important “net” of “net”working.

Our plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical (PHCE) industry is like no other. Residential service owners are genuine, sincere, hard-working folks who are always willing to lend a hand to help others. We truly are an industry of caring and sharing. I see it time and again within the Nexstar Network® — members helping members be the very best they can be.

Every day I hear about contractors who travel to another shop to spend time with the owner who so graciously opens the door. They meet, share ideas, talk through issues, compare war stories, and little by little, they develop lifelong friendships. I don’t mean the kind of friends you see once a year at a meeting – I mean the kind of friends who really connect and talk, and talk often. Maybe they vacation together or plan regular trips to each other’s shops. All with one goal in mind – to help each other be the very best they can be. I find this so incredible, but what I find more incredible is how many contractors in our industries don’t know how or where to find the networking opportunities to build these relationships.

I know I am blessed to work with business men and women who place a high value on nurturing these special relationships. Contractors in a growing number of our markets are gathering on their own for quarterly regional meetings. Once a quarter, an owner will open his or her shop to 20 or 30 of their direct competitors. Yes, go ahead read that again, I said competitors! Contractors doing business in the same markets gather together at a host shop and hold discussions as to how that company could improve its business. No, I am not joking. You see, when you are part of a business network, or are lucky enough to be part of the Nexstar family you worry about YOUR four walls – not the walls of your competitors. You quit operating out of a place of fear. You realize there is plenty of business for all of us. By doing so, you help raise the bar in our industry as a whole. What a special place this Nexstar Network is.

“To give back.” is a phrase I hear so often from our contractors. They want to help other PHCE Contractors build a better life, and help them avoid some of the mistakes they’ve made. An example of “giving back” is the incredible outpouring of volunteers offering to work at an Industry Trade show. Nexstar exhibits at two trade shows a year: The Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo and the ACCA Conference & Expo. Dozens of owners want to volunteer their time. Spending three to four days away from their businesses and families, standing for eight hours at a time, for no compensation other than their passion to help others be their best. I am blessed and grateful to work with such incredible people.

So, the term “networking” takes on a whole new meaning within Nexstar. It’s NOT about a business card exchange with a half-hearted promise of “getting together soon”. It’s about creating that “net”work. A “net”work made from true and meaningful relationships that surrounds you when you are scared, supports you when you run, catches you when you stumble, and ultimately helps you create a stronger, successful, more cohesive business.

So, are you working your “net”work? I mean really working your “net”work? If not, reach out – if you are part of a business network, pick up the directory and call someone you do not know. Introduce yourself, pay them a visit, or offer your help.I promise you – you will learn much more than you will teach.

If you are searching for a business network, call us today 1-888-240-STAR (7827) and let’s start building those relationships. Or, if you’re in town visit us and our great member network at these upcoming trade shows