Get Out and Mingle at Your Local Festivals and Fairs

This Monday is Columbus Day, and for Harrisonites, it's also the annual "It's Great to Live in Harrison" celebration. There will be a parade, a ceremony and a fair in the park that will feature food vendors, booths for local businesses and organizations, games and rides. An expected 4,000 people will attend.

Or, you could go the route that was highly effective a couple of weeks ago for Korth & Shannahan, the Chappaqua-based painting firm: They decided to rent a popcorn machine and give away free popcorn at this year's Community Day event in Chappaqua. Parents, kids, anyone who asked for a bag of popcorn got one (smartly, with the company logo on it), and anyone interested in entering a free raffle just gave their name and e-mail in exchange. Those names and e-mails are now your new mailing list, and potentially your new customer base.

But even if you don't have a booth at the fair, you can always show up, mingle, bring business cards or brochures and just hand them out to people you meet. Everyone from families to professionals to elected officials will be on hand, so if, for example, you're the new bakery in town, it's important to let them know.

So go out there and network. Let people know you're part of their community. After all, what have you got to lose?