One of the most useful practices any startup owner or entrepreneur can adopt is to attend as many relevant networking events as possible. The value you can get from such events is enormous. Communicating with like minded, motivated and active people can take your game to another level.
Most networking is free and you might get some free drinks on top, so even if you do not make the business friendship of your life you still haven’t lost your time. There are regular meetings as well as bigger events which you can plan in the future. A good start is to check local meetups of people in your sphere.
We have listed some of the most notable benefits you can gain from attending networking events, and also some important advice to help you make the most of it.
Having good contacts in today’s business world is of utmost importance. Although most communication happens online, there is nothing like a good face to face conversation. Besides, if you are to discuss an important matter such as possible investment or partnership, it is best you work that out in a more personal environment.
The good thing about networking events is that they often allow first some kind of speed dating or another activity such as short presentations by interesting people, so you will know with whom you want to talk the most. Later the events transform into open space free networking, where you can approach anyone and this allows for extending massively your network base.
Another advantage of networking events is that in most cases they are highly specific as to the topic and theme. Thus, people that attend have much in common and are mostly like-minded, and interested in similar challenges. Therefore such events are perfect to find new partners, or why not even co-founders for your business. Look around for people who carry out similar activities to you or complementing services or goods that may be merged into a better brand.
Sometimes it is useful to talk even to competitors – who knows, you may find yourself working together on an optimised version of your projects.
Depending on the type of event, you may also find new customers for your business. Massive events such as the Web Summit provide the perfect chance. If you are a service provider which services are to be used by small businesses, this is the perfect environment to pitch. Like-minded people will much more likely become your customers in the future.
Moreover, if you manufacture or distribute goods, there is a good chance that you can find new customers on such events, by engaging in discussions and presentations.
The best way to gain the attention of an investor is by speaking to him/her directly. Face to face conversations build trust and are the foundation of a future relationship. No one will put a large sum of money in your business without having a firm belief in you and assessing you as a trustworthy person. Investors often attend events since it is also a great chance for them to get to know some new players and businesses in the industry.
Making a good first impression will open the door for further serious discussions about possible investment in your business.
Brand recognition is one of the biggest obstacles for startups, and many never achieve it. Online marketing campaigns may not work if you do not make the effort to spread the word and show the world what you are capable of. By attending such networking events you have the opportunity of meeting your potential customers, speaking to them directly and evaluating how your product or service may make their lives better. You also have the chance of presenting your idea to a large amount of people, and seeing at the same moment how they react to it.
Most big networking events allow for startups to have stands or to pitch for a short amount of time. This is a great opportunity to get more recognition. Involvement in professional discussion is also beneficial, and many events of that type include round tables in their programs.
Attend Events And Make The Most Of It
Simply attending an event will not get you the desired results. You have to make good effort to make the most of it. First of all, talk to as many people as possible. Get out of your comfort zone and try to engage with people who may seem superior to you, but in the end the point is to make good connections.
Another important piece of advice is to follow up immediately after the event. Send an email or a LinkedIn message, but make sure you do stay in touch. It is crucial to follow up on what you discussed when it is still fresh in your mind and lay a good foundation for future cooperation.
And last but not least, these events are meant to be fun, so don’t take it too seriously and have some fun too! So get out there and attend events as often as time permits!