I am heading to a meeting for a networking group called Rainmakers tomorrow morning. It’s been a few years since I’ve done anything specifically geared toward networking… what I’d often look at as meeting new people I might have a chance of doing business with in a kind of random, haphazard social setting. The last group I was part of seemed to evolve into simply a social setting with little emphasis on trading referalls and trying to help each other, and from those that I’ve talked to that have used Rainmakers, it is much more deliberate and focused.

I am looking forward to this meeting. It is actually another step in the first goal I set for myself as part of my business/sales/life coaching process, and it’s fulfilling to see that the day is right around the corner. I still don’t know what will come out of it or what exactly to expect from the meeting tomorrow, but since that is out of my realm of control, I have decided that I am ok with not knowing, and coming up with expectations for myself instead of what I will find there. Such is the purpose for this writing. I have some key questions about mysef I want to have written down. Not written down so as to have cue cards, but written down so as to actually knowing the answer I want to give, and then being able to personalize that answer should I be given the opportunity to tomorrow. And from what I have heard from the leader of the group, I will have that opportunity.

So here we go. The first set are preparing myself for questions I will probably be asked, even though I have a goal to keep talking about myself to a minimum at this first meeting; I want to learn about the group, learn about the people in the group, and present myself as a person interested in discovering more about the people that I meet, along with their respective businesses, niches, and forward looking views.

Who are you?

I’m Chet Cromer, husband of Erin and father of Colton (4) and MaKenna (brand spanking new). I live out in the country about 25 miles southwest of Plainfield, but spent most of my early years growing up here and in Mooresville. I’m in a season of change in my business, as we encounter some opportunities to both find and server additional customers. I enjoy helping others develop their full potential, be it in their personal life or as a business owner and forward thinker. I enjoy doing outdoor work, spending time with my family, and working with youth in my church and local schools.

What do you do?

This one’s a bit easier now that I’ve written about it.

I help organizations reach their full potential by harnessing the power of technology and information available to them. I provide unique solutions to unique problems that integrate the complete technology system: The network, servers, PC’s, existing applications, and ultimately, unique software solutions.

That’s still a pretty long answer, but it’s thorough enough for now. The word unique is still overused, but this covers most of it. We aim to piece together the technology puzzle. We consider some of the key pieces to that puzzle to be:

  • Existing hardware and software
  • Already accessible data
  • New hardware and prepackaged software
  • Personally designed software
  • Handcrafted websites
  • And possibly most importantly, links between all of the above. So many pieces of the puzzle come to us as disconnected pieces. We aim to “see to it” that our customers are fully empowered with the technology available to them, including any special links we may be able to develop between these pieces of the puzzle.

What type of clients are you looking for?

I am looking for forward-thinking businesses with a willinness to step back and look at where they are and where they want to go, and how the technology they currently have is either helping or hindering them from getting there. We are most effective at discovering and providing solutions when permitted to work with various layers of staff, which enables us to get the big picture all the way from management to employee to the customer.

To discover opportunities with a potential new client, we like to sit down and talk about the items mentioned above, and then do a survey of what is both already available, what may be accessible with little effort, and what else may be needed that is affordable and cost-effective to add. We look at hardware, software, networks, and even non-technology items to help our customers develop a framework for what’s possible, not just what’s out there right now.

What types of clients do you already have?

Our largest base of clients are franchises from one of the nations largest privately owned businesses, Enterprise Holdings. While Enterprise itself is a huge corporation with over 65,000 employees, we work with their privately owned franchisees, who may have anywhere between 10 and 300 employees. We help these much smaller companies utilize the relatively small amounts of information made available to them by the coporation and leverage it by creating custom designed reports and tools for efficiency and access to data they could otherwise not obtain.

We also work with a variety of local clients, both brick-and-mortar, as well as web-based. We provide both basic IT support and services, as well as server and network support, custom software and web development, and forward-looking IT planning services.

We have developed a reputation as great “connector” between business-data and geographical information. For example one of our customers has employees constantly travelling throughout the state of Indiana (and soon, additional states) handling service calls and tickets based on a map-based “ticketing” system. These employees no longer have to come into the office each week, no longer need to report in each day on where they are or what they’re doing, and are able to utilize their unique software solution for almost everything they do each day.

NOW…. ON TO THE GOOD STUFF… Perhaps I should think through some of these for myself, but I think dealing with the first few things is enough for my pre-thought-out answers.

How’s business been for you over the past few years?

Have you found ways to cope or even capitalize on the economy?

How can I learn more about you and your business?

What’s your family like? What do you do when you’re not working?

What keeps you awake at night?

What’s a day in the life of <insert name here> like?

What’s your favorite part of the week?

Wow… this whole planning, goal setting, and future looking stuff is really enjoyable. It’s easy to get excited by it, but also easy to get discouraged because “nothing” has happened from it yet. But “nothing” is not the truth. There may not be money from it in the bank yet, but the attitudes and habits that are beginning to change ARE productive, WILL produce results, and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to this meeting tomorrow, and can now print out this post and put it in my action plan as it’s taking care of some other tasks I needed to accomplish.