As a start-up business networking can help you in achieving the growth you aspire for as an entrepreneur. A face to face interaction with your audience is still the most important thing in this day and age of social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc. Networking gives you an opportunity to be out there and meet your potential clients face to face and create connections that may go a long way to help you establish your business. Here are key things that will help you network better
Research your niche and network
We should approach networking meets with as much planning and preparation as we would for any other business meet. After all, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail. It is very important for you to chalk out an ideal profile of people you prefer to network with. Also, research about the various networking meets in your area where you are more likely to meet them.
Be out there and network
Once you are sure which kind of events you want to be a part of, just go for it. Do not enter into a mode of paralysis by analysis. Have a basic plan in place and start attending these events. Yes, you might be reluctant or make some basic mistakes, but then do not let it stop you from meeting the right kind of people. Make sure you learn from those mistakes and keep on working on them.
It is a platform where you can meet your pre-qualified ideal customers
This is a no brainer. This is the number 1 reason that people participate in networking meets. But, make sure that when you meet a potential client, your focus should be to build a rapport, exchange visiting cards and set up a convenient time to take the discussion further. Do not try to make him buy on the spot. Fix a meeting and then when you meet them in a more official business set up take it ahead. Also, since the conversation was around the challenges, you know that the lead is pre-qualified and when you meet them next can go with a personalized solution addressing the challenges unique to their business. It could shorten your sales cycle tremendously.
A platform to test your offerings
Networking meet is also a great platform to test your business offering. When you interact with people from varied business backgrounds try and unearth the challenges in the area you may help them with. This could be a great way to do your market research and test if there is a demand for the solution you are offering. It may so happen that you might come across an idea or an opinion that will require you to go back to the drawing table and rework things. Do not hesitate to do so. Also, networking meets provide you to test out different elevator pitches for your business or a soft sell pitch and modify them based on the reactions and responses you get. Remember, what I said earlier, the objective should be to get a meeting and not selling on the spot.
A man is known by the company he keeps
You will also meet professionals from different industries, of varied expertise, having multiple experiences and knowledge. Conversations with such highly professional group and experts will surely help you gain a lot of knowledge which may be useful for you and may be applied to your business. It will also keep you motivated and enthusiastic about your business even if things might be tough as a start-up in your initial phase.
It is more than meeting just your ideal customer
You may meet potential investors, or a potential employee, or a future partner of a joint venture or a business mentor and coach, or another businessman or professional who can help you with solutions you are looking out for your own business. So be on the lookout for these opportunities as well.
It is not only about taking it is also about giving
Yes, you are going to networking meets keeping in mind your business and your requirements from it. However, you may contribute to other people success as well. You may meet someone who is looking out for specific services like digital marketing or a good financial accountant etc. If you happen to know one, act as a bridge between them by referring them and become the bridge between the two. Also, as I mentioned earlier it could be a place also for you to give your business to someone you meet or find a suitable vendor. Approach these meets with the purpose of creating a network of experts who are trustworthy and help each other out. This would help you in the long run.
No matter what business you are a part of the benefits of networking are numerous. Make sure that you participate in these meets and get the most out of it. The outcome could be more business, exchange of ideas, finding solutions for your business, or being the bridge that helps others connect, whichever it is, all of these will benefit you and help you achieve the growth that you are looking for.
If you are a female entrepreneur and want to participate in a networking meet which focusses on creating an ecosystem that enables you to take your business to the next level, then you can connect with me through my website or social media presence. We organize “Network 82” a networking event in Mumbai that caters to women entrepreneurs and gives them a platform to meet other like-minded business women from other fields and varied expertise. You may also, comment below or fill up our “Contact Us” form and we will keep you updated about the upcoming event details.
So go ahead and start networking.