Look to Green for Networking Opportunities

Last month I was listening to NPR and they were talking about the Northeast Green Building Conference, which was scheduled in Albany, NY on February 12 & 13, 2009. Not only did I not know there was a conference, but I had no idea there was even a Green Building chapter where I live.

There’s no escaping it now. Green is all around and here to stay. I often hear retailers say customers don’t ask for green products, therefore they must not be interested. I decided to be interested and went to Google and did a search for “green building magazines” and it brought up 22,500,000 citations. I think it said it did it in 9 seconds! Remember when you had to go to the library and look something up? My hunch is if there are that many citations then someone is interested.

By the way, my favorite magazine that I subscribe to is Natural Home, which also publishes a free resource guide called Mother Earth News. Although the green timeline goes way back, I thought the year 1993 stood out as a huge step forward in conservation efforts, when the following happened:

Greening of the White House: President Clinton announced plans to make the Presidential mansion “a model for efficiency and waste reduction.” This encouraged participants to green other properties: the Pentagon, the Presidio, and the US Department of Energy Headquarters, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Alaska’s Denali National Park.

US Green Building Council Founded: USGBC is a non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices. USGBC is composed of more than 15,000 organizations from across the building industry that are working to advance structures that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.

Since I need to know as much about this as you, I went to Google to search for the chapter map, found the New York Upstate Chapter, signed up and contacted Traci Hall, the upstate representative.

Traci told me about the new certifications and sent me an event schedule for the conference. My opinion? You have to do this stuff; if you don’t your competitor will and will get a foothold in whatever business is out there. Even if the business isn’t there yet it will be soon so put yourself in a position to know what’s going on.

More than ever, you will have to go out after business and of course you want to be on the cutting edge of your industry. Frankly, You don’t have much of a choice, especially if you plan on being in business for the next few years. This is where the world is going and this is what you need to know.

The commercial market is still pretty strong and manufacturers are talking more about their green  products and their recycling efforts. Your manufacturers are global and have to keep up with the rest of the world. Even if business isn’t good, they have to be aware of the trends and position themselves to do business and be leaders in their fields.

Maybe you’re not comfortable yet with "green," but how many of us are? It’s a new field and has its own language, but consumers expect us to know. Being an expert for your customers is one way to build trust.

Business is about networking. The first order of networking is making friends, getting to know people and building trust, and then, hopefully, selling them products or advice. Green initiatives are another place for you to go look for business.

If you’re in my neck of the woods, I hope I see you at the next conference.

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