Most good startups have one thing in common – a very social entrepreneur who is smooth at networking.
In today’s world, it is extremely important to showcase your ware and ideas in front of the right people, at the right time. Due to the growing popularity of startups and the need for a place for entrepreneurs to come together, many startup events are being organized in order to give such interested people a platform for networking and socializing.
This has led to the need for networking with the correct group of people from investors to future employees.
What Is Startup Networking?
Since there are so many different platforms for people to initiate a startup on, it is becoming quite a common thing.
But this also means that the system is becoming saturated in terms of resources. So if you are planning to initiate a startup, you need to make sure that you are putting a certain edge to the idea, in order to get the attention you need to make your business a success.
In this context, one of the most important aspects is building a strong network.
What is networking?
It is essentially communication – communicating with the right set of people who can help you to give your startup al the elements it needs to become a success. Each business idea requires a lot of different types of resources to make it a success.
What’s The Need For Effective Networking?
A startup is a long process that includes a lot of intricacies.
Handling a start up on your own or with your team of professionals, might seem easy but in actuality you will need a lot of support from numerous groups of people if you want to accomplish in the task and establish yourself a s a success.
Among these groups of people, one of the most important set of people whose support will take you a long way are the investors and the network people.
The process involves talking and making people interested in your business model.
This group of people will include investors, customers and even future employees. Proper network strategies play a pivotal role in the success of your business as the right interest of people can make or break your business.
Now that the importance of building a professional network has been established, here are a few tips and hacks to help you network effectively in networking events.
5 Ways For Startups To Network Effectively
While networking, it is very important to get the attention of the person who you are trying to engage in conversation. Here are 5 tried and tested ways in which you can network efficiently.
1) Introduce and get introduced
In most of the different networking events, you will find different groups of people huddled together on their own. This technically shows that people often like to stick to their own group of peers who they know from before. They create sub groups that include people they are comfortable with. But in actuality, you need to step out of your comfort zone if you want to meet new people.
So if you have the option to meet new people and get them to talk to you, you need to introduce yourself well. If you do not find the option to do the introductions yourself, you can ask your peers who know new [people in the group to do the introductions. This will take you a long way.
2) Have a pitch plan in mind
When you are done being introduces, the person on the other side will want some kind of pitch from you. In these event meets, you will be required to pitch the ideas for your business if you want to get investors and customers. The pitch needs to include the details of your business along with any kind of information that the other person might want. So it is a very important step to keep the different information ready in the form of a pitch.
3) Place your questions well
The best way to understand the people who you are trying to network with is by asking a lot of questions. Asking questions will help you to know the persona and at the same time, they will feel that you are interested in them. This helps you to get into their good books which are a very important part of networking.
While asking question make sure to sound genuinely interested and also ask relevant questions. Since a networking event is rather a professional event, you need to make sure that you stick to your professional etiquettes.
4) Offer to help
Staying selfish during such events will get you nowhere. If you want a piece of the pie, you need to offer others a piece of that pie as well. Networking is not only about getting things or resources for yourself, you are essentially expected to talk to a lot of people and get them to show interest in your business. So it is rather important to help out others with the same cause as this helps you to get their attention. If you are able to help these people, they will gladly return the favour.
5) Diligently follow up post event
The network building never ends with the event. You need to make sure to continuously follow up with the people with whom you have spoken to if you want to keep them interested in your work. While you network during the event, you need to make sure that you take some kind of contact information that will help you to stay connected to them post event. This ensures that you are able to follow up on the work and keep their interest intact.
Bonus: 5 Hacks For Positive Networking
If you are able to keep the above tips in mind you should be able to network efficiently. But a lot of different entrepreneurs are networking at the same time. So how do you stand out among such competition? Here are a few hacks that you can follow in order to stay ahead of competition and create a strong impression on the mind of the people.
1) Prepare a battle plan
When you are heading to one of these events, consider this to be a battle. And hence you need a proper battle plan in place. You need to strategies on the different things you need to talk about, in such a way that it is very informative but at the same time not boring. You will have to plan on how you can introduce yourself and then get the attention of the people.
2) Try to get behind the scenes
Getting behind the scenes can open up a world of information for you. If you know that there is a place in the organizing committee or they require a keynote speaker, it is a very good idea to make yourself available. This will help you to connect to a lot of different people who might be able to help you network. This is also a great way to know the details of the people who you are planning on networking with.
3) Know the bio of the speakers
Most of these network events have some speakers who are accomplishes persons from their fields. Many a time these speakers have the capability to invest in your startup or help to get connections in the industry where you want to function in. So if you have a proper bio of such speakers you can get a chance to network with them better.
4) Have attractive business cards
Everyone has business card that contains the contact information. But if you really want people to remember your card details or store it, you need to make it stand out. Design a very attractive and creative business card, which will help you to network better.
5) Bring something new to the table
Always remember that most people are at the networking event for the same thing. So you need to do your research and try and stand out among the entrepreneurs so that you are able to bring something new to the forum.
These are some of ways in which you can stay ahead of competition when you are at a networking event. With the growing number of startup and limited resources, you need to make sure that you stand apart among them in order to get the resources allocated to you.
There are numerous mixers being hosted and you need to visit as many of them as possible if you want the best impact. It is quite important for you to network well, if you want people to invest in your startup or offer their expertise for the same.
(This post was contributed by our guest author – Nidhi. She often writes for Booksrun.)