Business and networking go hand in hand and this is especially true for entrepreneurs.
Like many startup entrepreneurs, Nunzio Presta, founder of online social media company BizON, relies on online and in-person networking platforms to find the mentors, support providers and clients to grow his business. “Networking gives me the opportunity to learn from those who have been through what I am going through and who can help me to grow by business.”
How do you create lasting relationships that will help you to reach your goals? As with everything, there are techniques that we can use to make the most of networking.
Startup Canada, a cross-Canada entrepreneur network, surveyed its entrepreneur community to uncover some of the top tips and techniques that have proven to maximize networking.
1. Plan – You have been invited to a networking event and are pumped to meet new people . Before attending you need to ask yourself, why am I going to this event? What am I hoping to get from attending? Who is going to be there? How am I going to describe my business without taking too much time? What do you want from these new found relationships?
2. Be yourself – You get to the event and you notice a large group standing or sitting around talking. What do you do? Where do you go? Where do you begin? First, always remember to be yourself. Being authentic and genuine with others will help develop a stronger, longer lasting relationship with others.
“My very best advice is probably the same as your parents’ used to tell you; just be yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn how many people are interested in you” – Suzanne Grant, CEO of marketing firm 500 Startup Brands.
3. Meeting others – Depending on your personality, going up to someone you don’t know can be an easy, enjoyable moment or it can be a moment full of anxiety. Whichever is the case you will get through it. There are many around you who probably feel the same way.
“We’re all connected somehow….look for it. Don’t be superficial with the connections you make, but dig deep. The conversation will lead to some way that you can help each other,” Bill Waters, owner of Waterloo-based firm, Dotzengaged Inc advises on making a connection.
According to the leader of Startup Canada’s local entrepreneur community in London, Ontario, Startup London‘s Quinn Lawson, who regularly runs Startup Drinks networking events for entrepreneurs, “You never know who you might meet. We have seen entrepreneurs hire developers and designers without going through the interview process through these networking events.”
4. Keeping in Touch – The event is over with, the stack of business cards you received are in your hand and you’re feeling on cloud nine. You met so people, many of whom you might wish to develop a relationship. The question that remains is now what?
You never know where these new found relationships will lead you with your career or business. Be open and most importantly, enjoy the company.