5 unconventional networking tips for start-ups
Start-ups are an integral part of the business world. Every single business, no matter how well-established at some point was a start-up. However, one issue very few people talk about is the issue of networking. Entrepreneurs have been taught many skills, ranging from technical, business, accounting to marketing. One thing that very few of them have mastered is networking – ability to get out there and make connections. It is often overlooked but is as vital as the other mentioned skills.
Let’s take a look at how start-ups can help themselves in that area.
- Think building networks and not networking
There is a very big difference between networking and building a network. Often start-ups treat business conferences and expos as an opportunity to sell, not to network. For them networking is selling, which is utterly incorrect. By exploring a bigger picture and creating networks, which grant you the access to potential customers, you will be in a much better position.
- You’re the Product
Don’t forget that the biggest asset your company possesses is not its products or services. It is you! Many start-ups make a mistake of focusing solely on what they do, instead of showing who they are. People want to deal with people, who they can trust, not strangers who offer tempting products. Remember that.
- Be strategic & create a goal driven plan
It is important to reiterate that this guide is not about networking, but building a network, which is much more valuable and long-lasting. In order for that system to succeed you need a plan.
- a) Write down your goals. Theyhave tobe very specific, ambitious, but realistic.
- b) What kind of people you need to connect within order toachieve these goals?
- c) How are you going to get in front of these people? More importantly, how are you going to get their trust?
- Work on your existing networks
People are not very good at utilizing the resources at their disposal to their full advantage and networks are not an exception. Often you hear about business owners waiting for the next networking event, instead of getting the most out of their existing networks. Relying on networking events to meet new people is a circumstantial approach, which can be effective, but lacks consistency. Developing and working on a network is a structural approach with odds of you meeting people you are looking for much more favourable.
- It’s both – Online and Offline!
It is true that online presents vast opportunities when it comes to building a network – it can be very specific, time and cost-efficient. However, your network is not complete if it only exists online. You have to actively develop the offline component of it in order to have a solid long-term business network.
It is one skill that many of us can find difficult to master, but it is definitely the one skill that matters a lot when it comes to selling and building long-term sustainable customer base. Don’t ignore it.