Is your startup stuck in a never-ending loop without growing? Maybe there’s something you’re doing wrong or plainly not doing at all. It may be because you are not connecting with the right people. As a new entrepreneur or an early-stage startup owner, business networking plays a vital role in building your business from the ground up.
All big-name companies climbed their way to success with healthy business relationships. These are connections built through networking. By creating meaningful business relationships in the startup community, your business can grow to greater heights.
In this article, you will know how to effectively build a business network when you attend networking events.
How can business networking help your startup?
When you hear the word business networking, what usually comes to mind? Surely it would be hundreds of people conversing and handing out business cards, brochures, and flyers. That is true, but this scenario is only the tip of the iceberg.
Have you noticed how some startup businesses have a lot of clients, even without any advertising campaign? Most of the time, these clients are people they know, they met, mutual friends, or referrals by existing clients. This is a product of startup networking.
No matter what startup funding stage you are on, you need people to know your business. You need sales. This will only happen if you start networking.
Before we move on, let’s find out what networking is. Networking is the exchange of ideas and information between people with a common interest. This is where early-stage entrepreneurs expand their circle of acquaintances to find better opportunities in their field.
It is also through networking that startup founders find the latest trends, innovations, and possible investors for their business.
How to build a business network?
Almost all entrepreneurs know the importance of a startup network. Yet, only a few know how to leverage it. Read on and learn a few startup networking techniques that you can apply to your next networking event.
Select events that match your business goal
There are hundreds of business networking events in the US, with each state conducting activities in different cities. If you haven’t started attending one of these events, then it is not too late to start now.
But before you barge in, find out what you are attending.
Do a little research through the internet or contact the organizers to ask for more information about the event. Find out if the event aligns with what you do.
It would be unnecessary and a total waste of your time if you attend an event that focuses on a subject that’s totally different or not related to your business. If you are a tech startup owner, you won’t find many networks on a business event centered on fine arts. It would be more beneficial to attend events like TechCrunch.
When you say the same interest, it does not automatically mean that you should join events whose attendees are solely your perfect audience. Some events are not your direct audience, but people who know and can lead you to your ideal audience.
Make a plan
You can’t enter a battlefield without a weapon, and you can’t join a business networking event without a plan.
Remember your goal when attending networking events. Are you there to introduce your startup? Are you looking for funding? Or do you need an introduction and financing?
Whatever your reason, the first thing you need to prepare is a business card. Yes, business cards can be old-fashioned for some, but it is one old-school approach that will not go away. Networking means meeting a lot of people. In this ocean of entrepreneurs, how will you be remembered? There’s the business card. Hand in your business card so they can contact you.
Upon introducing your business, don’t bore the people with a 20-page business proposal. That’s TLDR (too long, didn’t read). A simple brochure will do with a brief five- to ten-minute explanation.
Meet as much as you can
Business networking for startups is packed with people that you would want to meet. However, don’t talk to just one particular person for forty minutes or more. You can use that time to speak to four or more people.
If you have a specific profile in mind, then that’s alright. That person can be the first one you should hunt down when you enter the event. But remember, networking is mostly about pitching your business and not selling.
Yes, these events can help you get the funding you need, but they are more centered on connecting entrepreneurs. Networking events are simply the first base. You can ask interested investors for the right time to talk about your product or business if they decided to fund you.
Bring a wingman
You are so intent to grow your business and join a business networking event, but you’re too shy and too afraid to talk to people.
Remember this: these people are there for the very same reason that you are. They also need to build their network. Rest assured that you can freely talk to anyone at the event.
If you are too shy to speak, bring a wingman. Your wingman can initiate the conversation, and you can join in to continue the conversation.
A wingman will also come in handy if you don’t know anyone at the event. One of the reasons that entrepreneurs are hesitant to talk and mingle is that they don’t know anyone. If you personally know someone with incredible connections, you can invite them with you to the event.
From knowing one, you will surely talk to forty more with an excellent wingman.
Ask for contact details
Other than securing your business card, remember to ask for business cards.
It would be best to have their contact information so you can set an appointment to talk about your business over a cup of coffee.
You can follow up as early as the next day. This early, so the meeting is still fresh in the memory of the prospect. You won’t need to remind them when, where, and how you meet.
Full Scale’s Suite and Greet
Full Scale’s founders, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson, know the importance of networking for startups. But they also understand the pressure of attending a huge networking event.
So, the duo decided to go back to their roots and start building their own brand of startup networking, the Suite and Greet. The Suite and Greet event is a small-scale startup networking that small to mid-level businesses, especially in Kansas City, can gather and talk about their businesses while watching a game or attending a concert.
This event eliminates the pressure of talking to people about your business. Instead, it promotes an organic environment hosting authentic conversations between the attendees.
Instead of a stiff and very formal network, the Suite and Greet event is very casual and surprisingly relaxing.
Business networking can do a lot of wondrous output to growing a startup. It can provide your business with the clients it needs, the funding to scale up, and the recognition it deserves.
If you want to learn more about expanding your network, Full Scale is here. We can provide the right software development team to fulfill your needs, from product development to launching.
Our founders are successful entrepreneurs with excellent connections in the industry. Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson have helped a lot of startups to scale their business.
Contact Full Scale now and schedule an appointment to start networking.