Networking for start-ups

One of the most important factors to keep in mind when growing your company is networking. Networking is your ticket to climb up the business ladder so that you can achieve greatness in a shorter amount of time, but you’ll need to prepare yourself before you take on the challenges of networking as a business leader.

To help make things easier for you, here are some essential advice that you’ll need as a startup to make networking a breeze.

Be the Little Guy in the Industry

Sometimes, investors just love to see new talent brimming with confidence. Sadly, there are times where that confidence can make you seem overconfident and you’ll likely be shunned by the industry for being all talk and no show.

As a result, it’s best to know your place as the “little guy” in a new industry. When networking at events, here are a few tips that you should follow:

  • Listen more than you talk – It’s important that you spend as much time as possible listening to people talk instead of talking yourself. It’s a great way to pick up information and learn what’s going on in the industry, and you need to position yourself so that you’re able to learn as much as you can in a short amount of time.
  • Don’t act like you know Even if there’s a concept that you’re a little familiar with, it’s best to try and act like you’re unsure so that you can get others to explain things for you. Although it might make you seem inexperienced (hence why you should avoid acting like you don’t know in front of important people) it can help you gather information on how others approach their business and their goals.
  • Show some confidence – If you’re unable to act like you know less for the sake of gathering information and networking, show some confidence when you speak. Don’t think you’re confident enough? No worries, this article from zenhabits.net will teach you all you need to know about boosting your self-confidence.
  • Always seek new opportunities Speak to virtually anyone you can when you have a spare moment. Networking is all about building bridges to cross, so don’t neglect the importance of seeking new opportunities. Whether it’s enticing new investors with a solid idea or drawing attention to your business with a unique marketing plan, get out there and sell your products to people.
  • Work with other startups It’s important to remember that you’re not alone as a startup. By working together with other startups, you can create a mutually beneficial deal that will make it easier on both of you. For instance, if you’d love to work with a bespoke software developer, nothing stops you from finding a candidate at a trade event so you can work together in the future.
  • Embrace your competition – You also need to learn to embrace the competition at events. Competition is required so that your products don’t get stale and it forces you to constantly innovate in order to stay ahead. The constant shifting of trends means that you’ll always work towards providing your customers with better products and services, and this is a good thing for both you and your audience. Take a look at this post from yfsmagazine.com which explains this concept in more detail.
  • Learn your audience – At trade shows and events, you’ll get to speak face-to-face with your audience. This is a fantastic time to get to know them and also learn about their tendencies. Whether it’s learning what improvements they want to see or listening to the feedback they have, there’s valuable information to be had from interacting with your audience.
  • Seek advice when possible – By simply reading this article you’ve taken the first step to seeking advice whenever possible. No matter how much time you spend at an event, your top priority should be to learn as much as possible from those who are more experienced than yourself. This sounds difficult especially if you’re not used to being social, but it’s a skill you’ll need to pick up for the sake of your business.

Networking With Other Companies

Before closing out this article, it’s important that we mention networking not at events, but with other companies. This is much simpler to understand and it relies on your ability to engage in meaningful conversations with the companies that you deal with. Here’s an example to explain this in better detail.

Let’s assume that you’re in the manufacturing business. As a business owner, you might not have much knowledge of the processes itself, which is why you need to hire a foreman or other industry experts in order to run your company.

To complicate things further, you’ll also need to work with other companies that can supply you with specialized parts, machines or maintenance. This isn’t as readily available as say a computer repair shop. Specialized machinery requires delicate work and special tools, which is why it’s essential to make contact and network with a company that can provide continuity with their service.

Using the same manufacturing example, let’s assume that one of your machines has broken and your on-site engineer has determined that some parts have been worn out due to the machine itself being second-hand.

They can repair it for you, but they need special parts and they’ve traced a supplier such as dynatect.com, a specialist in equipment protection.

After your initial order and the repair of your machine, it’s worth contacting the company you deal with so you can arrange more deals in the future. Reliability is what’s important in this situation, and that’s why you need to cling to the companies that are providing you with excellent service and reliable products.

You can always look for cheaper options or competitors in the future, but as a startup, it’s important to network with other companies that have provided you with an excellent service.

It’s one of the secrets to growing your startup quickly and you’ll find that managing your business becomes much easier when you’ve got a network of suppliers, influencers, investors and freelancers to help you run your business.

I’ve been able to attend some networking events in recent times and it’s changed a whole lot. If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to the blog for regular updates on similar posts.

*This is a collaborative post.