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But that’s just another reason to make sure you keep your name circulating. “You don’t let your guard down,” he said. “You’ve got to stay up on your business. … Stay sharp.”

Someone’s more likely to seek out a restaurant where they know someone, Garen said, and summertime business events and family-friendly festivals facilitate that one-on-one interaction. “You exhibit what you have, you have fun, and you generate business,” Garen said.

2. Am I playing off the news?

David Tobin, one of the founders of Tobin Starr and Partners, a Charlotte, N.C.-based architectural and design firm, said he starts every meeting with a discussion of local and national news. Those few minutes help them stay apprised of the marketplace, which, in turn, has generated a lot of business, Tobin said. His firm designed the NASCAR Hall of Fame building in Charlotte and has big-name clients, such as Brixx Pizza and Pandora Jewelry.

These updates were especially important when the economy crashed and many of the private-sector gigs dropped off. Tobin Starr and Partners relied on news to find opportunities for public-sector jobs, such as the renovation they recently worked on at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

“It’s important for us to pay attention … to even try to participate,” he said. “We’d be in much worse shape if we simply sat at our desks and did our work … and before we know it, we’ll be looking up at our desk and our phones won’t be ringing.”

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