The Power of Networking
Whether you’re an established entrepreneur or newbie to the startup space, networking is a powerful tool. When utilized effectively, networking can open new doors to potential clients and business deals.
To help make the most of your time and effort, here are a few tips to maximize your networking skills.
Before jumping headfirst into your networking pursuits, set tangible and realistic goals. For example, what is your best-case scenario? Do you hope to meet potential investors? If so, how will you ensure you are prepared to sell yourself and your business opportunity?
First, focus on quality connections—not the quantity of connections. If you plan to network at an in-person happy hour or charity event, it’s okay if you only talk to a few people. It’s better to have engaging, personal conversations with a few people, rather than so-so conversations with many people.
Practice makes perfect. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s more likely than not that you love what you do, so you should be able to pitch your ideas easily and effortlessly. However, before you venture out to share your business pitch, you need to practice. Networking should never feel scripted or inauthentic, so practice your pitch so you can easily deliver your business model without sounding inorganic or awkward.
No matter how well-prepared you are or how seamlessly your pitch went, you will still hear “sorry, not interested.” And that’s okay. Raising funds and growing your client-base is hard work. You will hear “no” often and regularly, but that is no reason to give up. Keep networking, because eventually you’ll get a “yes.”
Once you have a successful networking conversation, be sure to follow-up. Letting a warm lead slip through the cracks will only delay your goals and show others that you’re not interested in growing your business. Within 24 hours of meeting someone, be sure to reach out with thanks and potential next steps.
What networking tips have helped you? Tweet @StarterNoise.
Derek Rundell, is a successful business leader, operator, and serial entrepreneur. Derek has founded, managed and sold businesses in the technology, media and finance industries. He sits on several boards and serves as an advisor/investor to numerous established businesses and startups. Startups are Derek’s real passion, and in addition to building his own portfolio of technology, media and financial ventures, he invests in and mentors startups and entrepreneurs. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping other businesses succeed.