turn off your computerCome on, admit it, you spend far too much time in front of a screen. We all do. I know that for me, it sometimes seems that I do email for a living, and that is not something I like, not by a long shot. And then, beyond that, if we are not emailing, we are tweeting, or posting, or surfing, or webcasting, or whatever. But whatever it is, it is probably too much.

Oh sure, we appreciate the flexibility that our technology, computers, and screens afford us. We can work with people all over the planet, sell our services to folks we have never met, and of course, watch guilty dogs on YouTube.

But as a small business person, something gets lost when you surrender your time to the Internet monster, because it is a voracious monster indeed; one that will devour hours of time before you can say, “I thought I was only on Facebook for only 30 minutes” . . . two hours later.

So, let me suggest that there are three big benefits that can result from turning off the computer and making a commitment to get out of the office or store more:

1. You can find more opportunities: Lately, I have been working with my friends here at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., helping to present a series of live events called Access to Capital. These events have been packed in every city we have gone to (the most recent was San Diego). At them, we shared how to get the money you need to help you start or grow your business, and then even facilitated meetings between participants and lenders.

Soon, we will be starting a new series of events, designed to show attendees how to sell to, and become suppliers for, big businesses, corporations, and government entities, called SupplierEdge®. If you attend (or attended) one of these events, you can be ahead in the business game.

And of course it is not just Dun and Bradstreet Credibility events that can help you do this. Whether it is a Chamber of Commerce mixer, an association convention, or a local meet-and-greet, the fact is, by getting out, you meet new people, learn new information, and you can discover new opportunities that you would not know of if you kept your face buried behind a screen one more day.

2. Your relationships can benefit: Even in this era of instant global communication, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. Example: Right now, there is someone I am wooing with whom I would like to do business. Over the past five years, we have debated each other on a news channel, emailed, and chatted over the phone. But we have never met face to face. So last week I arranged my schedule so that I could go to his city and have dinner with him, after my day of meetings was over. End result? We are going to finally work together.

No amount of clever emails can top the rapport that can come with meeting people in person.

3. You will have more fun: Look, it’s still summer. Time to take advantage of the great weather. Take your staff to a ball game. Hit the links. Raft down the river. Look up at the clouds. Whatever the case may be, you and your team will feel better and can be more productive as a result.

So, to paraphrase Howard Beale in the great movie Network, “Go ahead, turn off your screen. Turn it off right now! Stop reading this article, turn off the screen, and get the heck out of the office!”

Photo Credit: Anssi Koskinen, Flickr.