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SureToMeet is a technology company with decades of experience in the events and one-to-one marketing fields.  We have married those two areas of expertise in a new product design — but due to the death of our founding CEO, are struggling to find a new home for this innovative system that can make a real difference in the business networking niche.  

SureToMeet includes three innovative, experienced R&D designers:  Chris Allen is an Academy Award winning systems programmer and designer.  Carolyn Allen is a longtime marketing communications and Internet marketer.  David Hylton is an international communications and business strategist.  

Our founder, Cliff Allen, was a systems designer and marketer who wrote some of the early books on Internet marketing, who created one of the first event registration systems as well as a sales and marketing unification system much like Salesforce.com.  

Together we have designed, patented, and put together the implementation plan for the MatchUp system. MatchUp is a complete system for event organizers, attendees and sponsors to bring together compatible people face-to-face at events.  

It takes humility to know when you need to ask for help.  After struggling for almost five years to complete the patent application process and receive the patent, and developing the business plan, marketing strategy and detailed technology wireframe — we realize that the system we’ve designed needs a bigger company than ours to bring it to the marketplace.

So we are looking for a home for our child.  The ideal candidate will be an established events management or events services company who has a relationship with event organizers and sponsors.  They will also have in-house tech resources to rapidly develop the system.

Why would they do this?  Because the revenue potential is even greater than the valuable contribution they would be able to provide their clients by cutting the cost and inefficiencies of networking the old fashioned way.  This system provides a smooth pathway to development of both a Minimum Viable Product and future enhancements.  And the adopting company will have three dedicated founders to help with rapid development and implementation.

We have heart — as well as the desire to make a valuable contribution to business and the careers of people who rely on business networking.  In this day and age of social media and crowd sourcing, we are asking for your help so we can help others.  We would appreciate any assistance you can provide in finding a home for this innovative solution to business networking.

Carolyn Allen
CEO, SureToMeet

Slow cooking is catching on!  We’re realizing that it takes time to make something really good.  The same often holds for innovation.  It takes time to fully recognize the need and flesh out the details of a workable solution. 

Twenty years ago my husband and I owned a high tech marketing agency and the need for productive networking was palpable, but the technology wasn’t there yet.  We helped entrepreneurs connect with the support team they needed — investors, partners, clients and even some employees and vendors.  Matching people was difficult.  The frustration inspired us to think of solutions and we often discussed how matchmaking was a time honored tradition that was needed in business. 

So the history of MatchUp, our matching system, really started about 25 years ago.  But the technology wasn’t there.  We witnessed several generations of solutions being tried with gadgets, with online websites and leads clubs.  None of them were very efficient.

Seven years ago we recognized that the smartphone plus our own software platform would make an effective matching system possible. The additional ingredient was the event organizer who could tailor the matching criteria to their attendees’ needs and offers.  We began the process of designing a system that would optimize this human-technology team.  We soon added sponsors to the mix because finding good suppliers is as important to every company.

My husband died in 2012, just as we were applying for our utility patent.  We were ahead of the curve, but the R&D process slowed as my son and I took over the business and R&D process.  

We’re now seeing the emergence of networking apps that begin to meet the need I saw throughout my marketing and design career — but none of the services available handle the depth or breadth of the need we found in American businesses.

My family has pursued a solution to this problem for decades, and we have a solution at our fingertips — MatchUp.  But we need the right partner to make this valuable contribution to business networking a reality. 

If you know a company looking for a networking solution — let me know — or tell them that we’re looking for a quality events company who will be able to deliver a significant boost to business networking at events.

Carolyn Allen,
CEO, SureToMeet

 

As a communications strategist, I recognized a big problem among our entrepreneurial clients — they needed a matchmaker to help them find the right partners, investors, clients and staff members.  My husband and I owned a high tech marketing agency and the need for productive networking was palpable, but the technology wasn’t there yet.  This is the time for smartphone enabled business networking

Our MatchUp (TM) solution that combines the Event Organizer with the Smart Phone & Computer System helps Attendees match with each other at the event.  We help sort out compatibilities with the algorithm.  The Organizer narrows the search with parameters… and the Attendee can fine tune their profiles to find the match they need today!

But the human factor is so important.  You can be matched with the perfectly compatible person, but if you do not engage in a meaningful conversation and then followup, your experience is useless.

Based on our experiences at networking and event organizing over the years, we’ve learned these tips for networking at events:

  1.  Know who you want to meet
  2.  Ask for referrals from people who know you…
  3.  Follow up, follow up, follow up

Know who you want to meet

Who do you need today to make progress in your job or your career?  Do you need a partner, an investor, clients or staff members?  Do you need someone part-time or full-time?  Know what you are looking for — the function in your life — and who the most likely candidates are.  That profile shapes YOUR profile!

Ask for Referrals 

If you don’t have a networking system available, use the old-fashioned one — ask for referrals.  But be specific and ask for the most common two or three attributes you need to find.  Your referrer needs to ask the right questions and give a bit of your information to help make a human match.

Follow up!

Following up is about making a business friendship.  It’s about learning more about each other and learning to trust one another’s judgment.  And it’s a long process to develop a really good contact.  Try to meet again soon.  Go for coffee together or meet at the next group meeting you have in common.  Send email.  Connect in social media and send short messages that might be of value to your contact.

Don’t overwhelm your new business contact, but connecting 3 or 4 times in the first month of your relationship can solidify your interest in them and flesh out the value that you bring to their life — and vice versa!

Make your business friendship friendly.  Don’t fall into gripes about your industry or colleagues.  Do promote positive ideas about how to make life better for both of you.  And share tidbits of helpful knowledge.  This is how trust is born and nurtured.

Successful networking!
Carolyn

Do you know all the key players (companies) in your industry niche, in your city or region?  If not, you are NOT ready to look for a new job!

Part of “You, Inc.” is knowing your assets (talents, skills, connections and experience).  But another part is knowing which buyers are best for you.

With the Web at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not knowing each of your potential employers better than you know the attributes of your favorite movie or sports star.  Here are some features of each company you should know… and can find off of the Web (their company website, directories, associations, etc.)

  1. Name and kind of company (Sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S, C or other corporation), and size (number of employees, divisions, or locations).  Where their headquarters is located — and how close you will be to it.  Remember — location, location, location!
  2. Number of employees, and what the name of your relevant department(s) would be.
  3. Key customers (Find in directories or association membership listings)
  4. Where the hub of your industry is.  Entertainment is not centered in Sante Fe, New Mexico — but the art world is!
  5. Key products and services … and where the money comes from!  Follow the money!  The departments that have the greatest impact on revenue get the most attention, resources and often, highest salaries.  Money talks in business.
  6. Job requirements.  Search for job descriptions on job websites to get a prioritized list of qualification they will look for.  Know how each term is defined, and relate it to your own training and experience.  Tell your story of qualification, successful experiences and networks that can help get the job done.
  7. Who do you know who works for the company?  Call, email or text them for insights about the company, industry trends, and the job or department.  Recognize that one personal opinion isn’t always complete or accurate.
  8. Check social media for relevant conversations about the industry and the company.  But DON’T make derogatory or inappropriate comments.  (And check your own social media postings and clean them up as much as possible.)  
  9. Visit a trade show booth or other public exhibit and check out the literature.  Annual reports tell a lot about the inner workings of a company.  Read it for at least two years, if possible.  Annual reports for public companies listed in the stock market are often posted on their website or linked to from Finance.Yahoo.com
  10. Drive by all the facilities within driving distance — check out their look and feel.  Are they clean or unkempt?  Are their parking lots full or sparsely filled. Are they heavily armoured against crime, or open to the public?  You can tell a lot about a person (or company) by how they dress!

Getting to know the best companies in your niche can mean up to millions of dollars over a lifetime of work — so it is important to know where the best companies are, who their key people are, their trends and best products.  It’s like getting to know a person with many fascinating personality traits!  Have fun, but open your eyes to the attributes that matter most!

You have a supply chain inside your own company

and many of us have a supply chain outside the company.  We’ll discuss how to network within your company first.

A supply chain is a group of people whose job it is to get results and give aid to fellow employees working to achieve results.  

Some network members are in your own department, such as your supervisor and your contracts administrator.  Some are in departments before and after your role.  For example, if you are in sales — you need to know about inventory (before your department) and shipping (after your department), as well as others, such as order entry and order payments??.  

If you know these people by name, share some stories, and let each other know how your work optimally, you can get your work done much faster and smoother.  That process of getting acquainted personally and business-wise is productive internal business networking.

Step 1:  Write down the flow chart of your function… and the people/positions that come before you and after you in the flow of achieving your assigned results.  Well, maybe first, you need to identify what results really matter in your job!

Step 2. Identify the people at your own job level… and the people above and below your level. Meet them and offer them a token of your respect (information, cup of coffee, department ad specialties, etc.)  Be helpful to them by asking for their job goal and their wisdom and showing how you hope to support their goals.

Step 3: Add notes to your calendar to follow-up at least monthly.  Share helpful information (not trade secrets!) and ask for their input on what’s happening in the company or industry.  Ask how you can work together better.

Step 4.  Follow through.  Do what you said you would do.  It’s that simple.

Step 5.  Buy a box of “Thank You” cards and use them after every significant piece of shared information, referral, insight or connection your team provides you.  Be appreciative, but don’t gush.  Be sure to invite key members of your supply chain to a dinner or party at least once a year.  This is for their benefit to network with your trusted network!

Welcome to Chapter 2 of the SureToMeet blog…

Cliff Allen, my late husband, started this blog about productive networking and shared many articles and tips for attendees at networking events, as well as tips for the organizers of networking events — business, social and civic.

Since Cliff’s passing, my son and I have taken over the SureToMeet mission — we maintained the online event registration service for several years until we clarified our more permanent direction to keep up with changes in the industry.  In 2014 we received a patent on a “Matching system for networking at events” and have been busy researching, prototyping and implementing this system and supporting Web presence.

We’re there! We’re expanding our team, and developing robust services on the SureToMeet website for your use.

We will kick off this new chapter of the SureToMeet Blog and an expanded Web system to provide training and support for business networkers, event organizers and sponsors who also want to support the events in their industry and/or locality.

MatchUp is our new service, and we’ll be revealing more about it as it is launched.  In the meantime, we hope you will join our community to help put the final shape to this powerful tool for productive networking at business events. Please join today as either a Business Networker, or an Organizer.

Carolyn Allen
CEO, SureToMeet

david-hylton

SureToMeet recently asked David Hylton to join their team as Chief Digital Officer.  Mr. Hylton will lead the development of the brand’s digital consumer experiences across all business touch points, and also coordinate the company’s process of digital transformation. Mr. Hylton, an educator and entrepreneur living in Tokyo, Japan, has over twenty years of experience in international communications and digital media.

For many years networking has been valuable in my business and personal life. I enjoy meeting new people and looking for opportunities to work together.

Building relationships — now called social networking — is something we all do. So, we need to make the most of each networking opportunity. That’s the goal of this blog. And, that’s why we created the SureToMeet local event calendar Web site.

I’ll be posting networking tips and techniques that I’ve seen work, as well as links to my articles on the SureToMeet site.

And, since we all hold meetings and activities, as well as help organizations promote events, I’ll be sharing tips to help you use SureToMeet to make both your public events and your private meetings and activities successful.

Remember that this is a two-way relationship. Your comments will add to our shared exploration of business and social networking.

Together, we can explore the tips, techniques, and tools each of us uses in our business, civic, and social networking.

Cliff Allen,
Founding partner of SureToMeet