Networking For Entrepreneurs
Recently I relocated to the Las Vegas area and have based my corporate headquarters in the heart of the Downtown Project at a cool coworking space called Work In Progress. As part of my immersion into this innovative community I am attending CatalystCreativ’s creative week this week. Each week an average of forty guests visit the community from around the world to experience the community first hand. It is a tremendous opportunity to connect with like minded individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the world. However, it is a unique experience from your standard chamber of commerce business mixer, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share with you some of my tried and true tips for networking.
1. SHOW UP: Half of life is just showing up and networking at events is no different. Arriving early is always your best option. Take the extra time to introduce yourself to the event organizers and get the lay of the land.
2. ASK INTERESTING QUESTIONS: To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” Rather than diving into their job ask what they are passionate about or what the first concert they ever attended was.
3. PUT YOUR BUSINESS CARD AWAY: Networking is all about relationship building. Keep your interactions fun, light and informal – you don’t need to do the hard sell within minutes of meeting a person. The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more apt to do business with – or partner with – people whose company they enjoy. Put your business card away and take out your phone to connect with people in their preferred social media community.
4. BE PREPARED WITH YOUR PASSION: Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. If a potential customer does ask you about your product or service, be ready with an easy description of your company. Have a real life example of a client you have helped, so that it is clear what you do best.
5. FOLLOW UP: Meeting someone is just the beginning, so make sure that you connect with all of your new friends on LinkedIn, via email, and set up a one on one coffee or lunch to keep the relationship growing.