Networking is very powerful in business. According to a networking specialist, Heather White, hundreds of networkers say that up to 90% of their new business comes from word-of-mouth recommendation, referrals, and direct networking. If you are connected with the right people in your industry, you’ll have an edge over anyone else. Your established relationship with key industry players will set you apart from the rest. Here are some tips to get you started:
Attend business events
If you want to connect with investors, top industry influencers, and mentors that will bolster your success, you must attend business events. Although it’s more convenient to stay connected with investors – in today’s digital world, the interaction is also less personal. You’re more likely to get an investor to fund your startup if you pitch them your idea in person, than when you send them a 3-minute video via their e-mail. Attend 1-3 business conferences a month. The more you attend business events, the more you stand the chance to meet with the right angel investor, influencer or mentor that will take your business to the next level.
Go it with a “wing-man”
To make the best out of your business networking, go with a wing-man. Your wing-man could be a friend and fellow entrepreneur, or an influential relative (who knows people in your industry). The point is to get someone to introduce you to the people you want to meet at your next business conference.
Know the people who will attend
Do your homework before you arrive at a business forum. Know the keynote speakers, the business influencers who will attend, and their areas of expertise. Also get to know about their personal life, and decide the specific benefits you want to derive from them. A 5-minute Google search will help you get through the profiles of the key influencers; and having good knowledge about them will lubricate your conversations with them and increase your chances of success.
New entrepreneurs often get intimidated when they have face-to-face meetings with business tycoons in their industry, and in the process loose confidence. When they loose confidence they often try hard to be the person they are not. Don’t try that. “If you do,” Nietzsche warns. “You will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened, for no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
Meeting and getting the contact of the investors and your favorite influencers and mentors at a business summit is not the end. In fact, it’s just the beginning. The most important task after that is following up. You can put a phone call through, send an email or even connect via social media.
The end goal is to “stay alive” in the mind of your contacts, and strengthen the relationship you’ve built earlier. This will get you the funds you need to scale your startup and build your contacts of influencers and mentors in your area of expertise.
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