Holvi Blog for Makers and Doers

HELP: Networking is not working for my business.

Small Business Tips · 16/09/14 17:01 · Thomas

Hi guys,

In our continued effort to share some best business practices with you, this week we’d like to look at the area of networking. As put in a recent blogpost (almost as good as this one), Networking is the simple art of making friends to do business, and doing business to make more friends. The issue for business people like ourselves, is not the lack of opportunity but more so the lack of ability.

This post will provide you with some simple tips to help you make the most out of networking events!

 

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

A often overused quote made famous by our own Roy Keane, is as much true in soccer is it is in business. While we all feel that we know our business inside out, when it comes down to it, we can sometimes get our lines fluffed or as is Murphy’s Law, the product just doesn’t work. Just ask the guy in the video below (some of you may recognize him, Hollywood director Michael Bay)

 

 

You must spend some time preparing your pitch with the aim of keeping it as concise as possible. Like you, the people at these events are just as passionate about their business as you are about your own. This means that like you, they are dying to talk about their own business too. Therefore, you need to ensure that you can entice someone to learn more about your business as quickly as possible.

Some simple approaches to this include:

 

  1. Create an elevator pitch: A 30 second summary of what your business does that gives someone an easy to digest overview of your business.
  2. Use Reference points: “It’s like Hailo for house cleaning” or “AirBnb for dogs” gives someone a perfect idea of what you do.

 

Plan if you Can

Now that you are armed with a confident and concise story about your business, next you need to formulate your plan. By nature, these events tend to be busy which means you won’t get to speak to everyone, or at least speak to people for long enough to have any impact. Most networking events will list the people attending and this is a great resource for identifying key contacts.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 11.51.10

 

So before attending an event, you need to plan out the key people you need to speak to. Whether it is key investors at a startup event or potential customers through a local networking event, it is crucial to identify these individuals and ensure you don’t leave the event without speaking to as many of them as possible!

 

Hardware can be hardwork

The final piece in the networking puzzle relates to more tangible items. Whether you are doing a product demo, a presentation or even just arriving with business cards, don’t spoil your preparation and planning with technical issues. The opportunity in front of you at these events is to showcase your business so it is important to appear as professional as possible (even if you reply to emails in your pyjamas). Ensure you have all necessary materials in working order, and lots of backups just in case. Otherwise, you could have a very awkward situation like this guy in a pitch on Dragons Den below.

 

 

Although these tips may seem obvious, often we presume we have everything under control. Preparation is the key and be sure not to skimp on the details. Once you’ve got yourself organized, go get networking and start generating some new business. The below are some of my favorites so check ‘em out and hopefully see you there!

Dublin Chamber of Commerce 

Business Network International 

The Web Summit

Best,

Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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