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Shopping? or Running Errands…

My wife’s question stops me mid-stride with my coat half on standing in the chilly breeze from the open door because I truly don’t have a good answer.

“What are you getting?”

See, when I go shopping,

I don’t know what I’m going to buy.

If I know what I’m buying, then I’m not shopping.

I’m running errands.

CVS, Roche Brothers, Harvey’s, Comellas.

Prescriptions, stuffing mix, a car remote battery, and cheese pizza.

The goal in running errands is efficiency.

Check it off the list.

Shopping is different.

Shopping is more about discovery.

Getting ideas.


Being open to possibilities.

That’s when I find the best gifts.

When I don’t have a particular gift in mind.

Yet, I work with so many people

Who business network

As though they’re running errands.

They want to know

Exactly who they’ll talk to

And what they’ll talk about

And what they’ll get out of it.

When the real joy (and profit)

Of business networking

Comes from the unexpected.

An introduction

From my first ever presentation

That launched this business.

I had no idea when I agreed to give the presentation

That it would lead to exactly the right relationship.

And, of course, the introduction came weeks later

And the relationship months.


An exciting business partnership

Born of a horribly (and completely) botched project.

Who knew that something positive

Could come from such a miserable experience.


An instinctive decision one day

At the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

To join a networking group.

The relationships I developed

Through that group

Still fuel both my businesses

Over a decade later.


Business networking is not deterministic.

You can’t see (or plan) the path

Ahead of time.

You take the first step.

Start the first conversation.

And let the journey unfold.

It’s a process.

Expect the unexpected.

2 comments on “Shopping? or Running Errands…

  1. Great piece, Andy. Your analogy to shopping vs. running errands is spot on, and I will use it (with attribution, of course) when I speak about or teach networking.

    BTW, here’s one for you: a people network is like a fruiting bush or tree (I just saw an add for a “fruit salad” tree, BTW). The gardener or orchard owner doesn’t know which branches will fruit first or yield the most, but knows that if he feeds and waters properly and protects his plant from pests and contamination, the plant will thrive and yield more and more fruit.

    Also, the plant needs pruning from time to time, as do people networks. One can let branches simply die from intentional lack of care or just lop them off.

    Please keep the articles coming, Andy. Also, love to have you speak at WIND early next year. January? Let me know what might work.


    1. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for sharing the gardener analogy. Another great way of thinking about business networking!

      I’d be honored to speak to WIND again. I’ll get in touch and we’ll set something up.


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