Whether you’re just starting off as a young introverted entrepreneur or you are already a pro who has set the mark and is now looking for your next big venture, one can always improve one’s approach to network. Sometimes people see networking as a bad thing, but what it really is and how it should be seen is a way to build relationships by sharing stories. We guarantee that by keeping this view in mind, improvement will come.
Build your own brand
Regardless of your actual situation, whether at the stage where you still trying to find your next idea, or are already working in stealth mode on your next big thing, or are looking for co-founder, making oneself unique always pays off. Think more about how you present yourself on a personal level and what are you representing as your personal brand image despite the company you work for or are running. Think about your core values and make a mental note to try and represent them aesthetically. Find your own words and make them stand out against others’; once you are clear about who you are, what you want, and what you stand for, you will present yourself in a much more clear way. You will appear confident and welcoming to others.
Paper is always in fashion
As we are in the digital age, we are all linked via social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. One could say that business cards are out of fashion; but they are definitely not. Have you ever been handed a beautiful, well-designed, and appealing business card from someone? I bet you formed a complete picture in your mind about his world. Your business card should show that you are something special and reflect as well your personal brand. And I want to mention that you have your own business card which tells them the story about you, besides being just your business card for the work or the actual project you are working on. Having a personal business card helps to support your brand. Carry some well-made cards, designed according to your values and printed on quality paper. Carry them with you even in your daily life, as you never know whom you will end up meeting.
Meeting the Online Crowd Face 2 Face We all follow and communicate with people on Facebook and Twitter, and read and comment on others’ blogposts. Grab the chance at industry events to get with those local people which you come across often online or those who inspire you or are known to already be well connected within the scene, and get real face time with them.
Make Connections with Key Persons
Make connections with a person who is already known already inside the community, such as the founder of a startup that recently was funded, a VC which invested money into something, or a person who runs co-working space. But you should do your homework and know what their product is about. If you get face time, set your mark and give them something to think about. Be sure it is something which brings that person value, so that he will be happy to get into another conversation with you at an upcoming event both of you attend.
Strengthening Connections via Social Media
Relationships need to be strengthened, especially since we are in the digital age and the startup industry in general is highly active within channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and in the whole blogosphere, staying connected can’t be easier. So, follow those people which you meet and found interesting, and try to participate in their online discussions. Participation is important, but should be approached professionally; keep focused on how you engage with your newly made contacts and do not spam them or annoy them. For example, do not “like” everything they post or retweet everything they tweet—things like this can backfire on you.
Connect and be open with your contacts
Don’t be selfish; share your contacts and contacts will be shared with you. Being a good networker involves helping others and sharing one’s own contacts, which could be very useful for someone at the moment. Don’t be too shy to let your newly made contact know that you know someone who may be able to help them, and introduce them. Connecting the dots is important, and it will help you in the long run; the people whom you help will tend to help you as well, if they have something which could be of value for you. While you should not expect something back, in general, one can say that what goes around comes around. Helping others to reach their targets can definitely give oneself a good feeling.