How to Network as a Startup
For new businesses the opportunities created by networking are endless. There’s so much potential to connect with like-minded people in your industry, gain knowledge from thought leaders and get your brand out there. However, taking those first few steps isn’t always easy, as entrepreneurs can sometimes struggle to come up with the right strategy when it comes to networking and meeting new people. Here are some of the best ways to get your business recognised in the early stages through networking.
Attend the Right Events
There’s no point attending each and every event that you’re invited to. When time is an issue, it makes much more sense to carefully select the ideal ones so that you can be sure you’re going to network with the correct people. CEO of Gyana Limited, Joyeeta Das, says, “You have to know who has the same vision to try to align with them.” Do some research beforehand and make sure that the event you’re attending is going to be a worthwhile one.
Network before the event begins
You don’t need to wait until the day of the event to start your networking. Go online and check social media to see if there’s anybody talking about it. You can connect with them and even arrange a quick meet-up for when things get underway. This is the perfect way of making other people aware of you before the event starts and it will save you time from making introductions on the day. “In this ‘connection economy’ it’s especially important to create and maintain ‘real’ relationships with people,” states 9others co-founder Matthew Stafford.
Make the most of your networking opportunities
When the event starts you should be getting out there and getting involved in as many conversations as possible. It’s important to soak up as much information as you can, but when the time comes to explain your business then you should have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch in your head. As Andrew Kent, the senior innovation advisor at Enterprise Europe Network, says, “Preparation for networking events is crucial to ensure you maximise your time and opportunities.”
Don’t forget to follow up
Hopefully, now you would have made plenty of contacts and met a lot of influencers in your industry, but you can’t forget to follow up. A few days after the event you should be sending emails to the people you met, so that you can carry on the conversation in further detail. Operations and development manager at Enterprise Europe Network, Alex Mauser, has this tip, “Choose international events to explore target markets, expand your networks, and find out the latest developments in your sector.”
For other start-up tips, you can subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.
You can also follow them on Twitter at @innovateuk.