Successfully Networking Your Startup Business
Regardless of which industry you are in, building a strong network is vital for growing your small business. Building strong business relationships and having the right people in your corner that will help support your business is a necessity for survival. Meeting face-to-face, reaching out online and entering shared workspaces are surefire ways to grow a strong network.
There are several means of networking your business. Hopefully, after reading this article, you can develop a plan of attack and start networking efficiently.
Where to begin?
Inefficient networking can be a waste of time and other resources. To avoid that, before you reach out to the masses, you must have a solid plan. What type of people are you looking to attract? What types of events are you going to attend? How are you going to keep track of all your contacts? Develop a strategy that makes sense for your and your small business.
Tell your story
I'm sure you've heard of the 30-second elevator pitch. You are going to be meeting a lot of people for short periods of time. A great practice for those little - but important - conversations is to practice telling a compelling story about who you are, and what your business hopes to achieve in half a minute. Remember, it's important to sell people on you and your passion first, and the business second.
Do you have business cards to hand out? Obviously, you need to include vital information (address, phone number, e-mail) on the card. What business cards offer you is a chance to be creative, or stand out. If you are in the fashion industry, for example, it may help to include some interesting designs. Eighty-eight percent of business cards get thrown out within a week. If you are really looking to impress, there are higher quality finishes available at most print shops that both look, and feel great.
Always follow up
After you make your connections, grab your business cards and take down phone numbers, it's important to consolidate all of that information into your own database. That way, when you come back to your office, you can easily call or e-mail your connections easily. Sometimes a quick “nice to meet you” is a great way to ensure your company is still fresh in your contacts' mind. Nearly half of businesses will respond to the vendor who replies first.
Different networking mediums
The way businesses meet and communicate has changed drastically over the last couple decades. In today's digital age, we are constantly finding new ways to connect. However, traditional networking still exists. A solid networking plan encompasses the new and the old way, whether that means physical or virtual handshaking.
We've discussed in a previous article the importance of establishing a solid online presence. Forging relationships by retweeting your contacts' content, becoming a voice in certain online communities and communicating with certain individuals online can open up doors to future contacts and business as well. There's a reason why 93% of marketers use social media for business.
There are likely several events that would appeal to your industry. Review the events, evaluate the costs and try to get a solid idea of the types of people these events will attract. Don't just try to meet everyone or pitch your product too hard. Rather, be approachable, curate conversations, listen to others and you will likely find more meaningful contacts.
Shared workspaces - Organic networking at Workplace One
When you enter a Kitchener or Toronto shared office space with Workplace One, you are entering an environment full of like-minded entrepreneurial spirits. You will find that striking up productive conversations, sharing knowledge and even swapping services will happen naturally when you are working in the same office.
By letting your passion be on full display and representing your company well, the contacts sitting around you may have need of your services, or have other contacts who need them as well.
Our Kitchener or Toronto shared office spaces are a breeding ground for building strong business relationships. They are also a great way for young companies to work in a professional environment for the fraction of the cost. Visit the Workplace One website and discover how a shared office space may be perfect for you.