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In an age of social media, it’s easy to forget about the human factor. Sure, emails, texts, and Facebook messages can be convenient, but we lose a great deal in the process. There is still a great value in the ol’ face-to-face meeting.

I21375196_Sf you’re not meeting other business owners in person, you can count on the fact you’re selling yourself (and your business) short. Sure, we’ve all got a mountain of work to do. Even so, if we don’t make the effort, our business will pay the price. There’s a maxim that it’s not who you know, but what you know–and that statement no doubt applies to the business world.

The days and months go by–and before we know it, we’re in danger of losing that valuable connection we currently have to our fellow business owner. Relationships require ongoing nurturing and maintenance to flourish into something with relational substance.

You might know this intuitively, but it can be hard to put into practice. One of the more onerous burdens business owners face is the age-old question of how best to use one’s time. Don’t be driven by temporary gains at the risk of stunting your long-term progress. Think strategically and craft a networking plan that includes consistent face time opportunities. For small businesses, the business owner is often the most critical player, because business owners forge connections with other business owners, not their support staff

It all begins with scheduling these opportunities and making it happen. So grab a pencil and mark the calendar!