When it comes to your startup, networking is the best promotional weapon in your arsenal. Social media marketing can certainly get the word out, but there’s no better way to boost your company than by meeting other innovators in your field of work. Sharing ideas with them can in fact help you find potential investors and collaborators!
So get comfortable, and read on for some tips and tricks on how to get networking:
Leave your sales pitch at home:
Instead of going off to others about why your product/service is the best of the lot, try to take on a more personable approach. People can always tell if they are being sold to, and can immediately take on a dismissive stance to it. Try and ask questions about the market in your field. Initiate conversations about the other person’s company, and diffuse your own business into it organically And most importantly, let your personality shine. Friends are just as important as business contacts.
You don’t have to do it alone:
Networking is always easier when you have a partner in crime, because it gives you an extra shot of courage and confidence. Take a trusted employee or friend to networking events, one who balances out your weaknesses. Play off of each other when talking to people, and try to create a friendly point of contact between yourself and the person you want to build a network with. Not only will you have someone to alleviate your nerves, it will also allow for the other person to have two people to reach out to.
Make yourself known:
It never hurts to stand out, and there’s ample opportunity to do so at networking events. If there is a Q&A, be proactive and ask a question. But do ensure that this question is not just fluff, it should be concise and thoughtful. Mention your own as well as your company’s name before you ask this question, so that people know who you are. If you are memorable, people will be happy to initiate connections with you! Additionally, in the case where there isn’t a Q&A, try to be friendly and warm towards everyone you speak to, and don’t be scared to go up to someone and introduce yourself.
Make connections beyond business cards:
Don’t get me wrong, business cards are great too. But in reign of social media, it’s imperative that you as an entrepreneur take your startup’s network beyond a piece of card stock. Find all the new people that you meet on social media, and follow their company’s pages as well. This lets them know that you remember them, and value their place in your network. Who knows, you might just end up with connections that last your company a lifetime!
We all know that there is a lot of pressure on the power of networking, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. Our top four tips to networking will certainly help you better your communication skills, and hopefully leave you with some lasting investors, collaborators, business contacts, and potential partners.